Maynard Sundman Lecture Series

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum's Maynard Sundman Lecture Series was established in 2002 through a donation by his sons, David and Donald. The Sundman lectures feature talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting.

19th Annual Maynard Sundman Lecture

Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 4 pm ET. Online on ZOOM

Polar Philately and the Wilkes Antarctic Expedition
Hal Vogel, Professor Emeritus, Rowan University

Hal Vogel posing for a photograph
Hal Vogel

In 1838, the US Exploring Expedition (1838-42) began its examination of Antarctica, in what would become this worldwide adventure’s most remembered legacy leading many to remember it as the “Wilkes Antarctic Expedition”. The expedition created what organized philately, including one of its specialties, polar philately, refers to as “archival mail,” or ordinary mail that serves as written testimony to aspects and personalities of an historical event. Unfortunately, although discoveries of this type of mail from polar expeditions do still occur, (archival) mail still is unknown from a number of the earliest expeditions. Mail from the Wilkes Antarctic Expedition only began to surface in the 1980s. Using the postal history of this expedition as an example, the talk will introduce the field of polar philately – its geographic scope, categories, and periods – and examine how the intriguing mail of this exciting polar expedition helps document its highly historic events.

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For any questions, please contact Susan Smith:

Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman's love of stamp collecting began in 1927. As a child, Maynard was fascinated by these tiny bits of paper and all the history and culture they held.

At 19, Maynard started a mail-order stamp business with $400 he had saved, operating out of his parents' home in Connecticut. After serving in WWII, he founded his second firm, Littleton Stamp Company, with his wife, Fannie Kasper Sundman.

The company branched into coins for collectors in the 1950s. In 1974, the Sundman family purchased Mystic Stamp Company of Camden, New York. Maynard's son Donald is President of Mystic Stamp Company and his son David is Chairman of the Board of Littleton Coin Co., Inc. in Littleton, New Hampshire.

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Previous Lectures

The National Postal Museum gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Mystic Stamp Company.