Blount Postal History Symposia

THIRTEENTH WINTON M. BLOUNT POSTAL HISTORY SYMPOSIUM

NOVEMBER 15 – 16, 2024

At the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Two symposium participants watching a virtual presentation on a screen

Call for Papers (PDF)

The Thirteenth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium will be at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania on November 15-16. (Please note that this is a change from the original dates of November 1-2 made to best accommodate those travelling to the event.)

The biennial event is jointly sponsored by the American Philatelic Research Library, the American Philatelic Society, and the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The 2024 symposium will also be co-sponsored by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society and the Collectors Club of Chicago.

The symposium will feature two days of presentations along with philatelic exhibits dealing with various aspects of the Universal Postal Union, its history, and its importance. In anticipation of the symposium, a Call for Papers will be announced soon, inviting those wishing to present at the symposium to submit a proposed abstract. In the coming months, we will also have further details about accommodations, information regarding how to attend virtually, and an event schedule.

Attendees are welcome to join us in person in Bellefonte or online (for presentations only) for the 13th Postal History Symposium on November 15-16, 2024.

Learn more from the American Philatelic Society (host location)

December 8 - 9, 2022:
The Twelfth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: Political Systems, Postal Administrations, and the Mail

National Postal Museum and streaming online

In countries around the world, postal administrations and their missions, practices, and regulations serve as reflections and agents of state goals and ideals. In all cases, these goals and ideals shape the relationship that citizens, subjects, or residents have to the mail and the post office, including their expectations and decisions on how and when to use them. The acts of using and engaging - even the potential for these - with postal services may simultaneously reinforce and challenge the postal administration and its political foundations.

October 26 - 30, 2020:
The Eleventh Postal History Symposium: “Postal Innovation of the Classic Era: Evolution Leading to Modernization”

Online

The 2020 Postal History Symposium was held virtually and was jointly sponsored by the American Philatelic Research Library, the American Philatelic Society, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, and the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.

November 1 - 2, 2018:
The Tenth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “WWI and its Immediate Aftermath”

National Postal Museum

Much of the world was covered in the paper presentations and philatelic exhibits. The topics varied widely from the postal workplace and logistics, from propaganda to censorship, and from funding the war to adapting to shortages. A public lecture on World War I letters was held on the night of October 31. Curator-led visits to the exhibition My Fellow Soldiers were offered during the symposium.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

June 2 – 3, 2016:
The Ninth Postal History Symposium: “How Postal Treaties Influenced Post Office Reforms”

Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York, NY

The Ninth Postal History Symposium was held June 2–3, 2016 during the World Stamp Show – NY 2016.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

September 12 – 14, 2014:
The Eighth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “The Development of Transoceanic Air Mail Service”

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The eighth Postal History Symposium was held in conjunction with Aerophilately 2014, a national all-air mail philatelic exhibition with FIP recognition and worldwide participation hosted by the American Air Mail Society.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

November 2 – 4, 2012:
The Seventh Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Blue & Gray: Mail and the Civil War”

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The 2012 Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

September 16 – 18, 2011:
The Sixth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails”

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The Symposium was held in conjunction with a philatelic exhibition hosted by the United States Stamp Society (USSS) at the American Philatelic Center near State College, Pennsylvania.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

September 30 - October 1, 2010:
The Fifth Winton M. Blount Symposium on Postal History: “Stamps and the Mail: Imagery, Icons, & Identity”

National Postal Museum

Stamps, as official government documents, can be treated as primary resources designed to convey specific political and esthetic messages. Other topics and themes for the symposium are: Stamp design’s influence on advertising envelopes and bulk mailings, censorship of stamps as propaganda as used on letters, and the role of the citizens' stamp committee or organizations that generate the designs.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

October 30 – November 1, 2009:
The Fourth Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Postal Reform”

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

The introduction of postage stamps in 1840 represented a complete overhaul in the organization and operating principles of the British Post Office. The subsequent rapid introduction of stamps to nearly every country in the world before the end of the 19th century is tangible evidence of the worldwide adoption of similar post office reforms. The 2009 Postal History Symposium will bring together collectors of classic stamps with scholars and public historians of postal reform and post office operations to examine these highly collectable cultural objects through the lens of the post office reforms that gave rise to them.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

September 26 and 27, 2008:
The Third Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “When the Mail Goes to War”

National Postal Museum

The 2008 Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and the American Philatelic Society was held on September 26 and 27, 2008. This was the third national conference for academic scholars, philatelists, and industry experts to discuss their research into the history of postal organizations and systems.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

October 21 - 22, 2007:
The Second Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “Further, Farther, Faster: Transportation Technology and the Mail”

American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA

This Postal History Symposium, the second national conference sponsored by the American Philatelic Society and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, provided a forum in which philatelists, academic scholars of postal organizations and systems, public historians, and the interested public discussed and presented research integrating philately and the history of postal operations within the broader context of American history.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

November 3 - 4, 2006:
The First Winton M. Blount Postal History Symposium: “What is Postal History?”

National Postal Museum

Rarely do scholars of postal organizations and systems meet and discuss their ideas and research with scholars of philately. In an attempt to bridge this gap, the National Postal Museum and the American Philatelic Society hosted a national conference on November 3 and 4, 2006, to bring together these two research groups.

Select papers can be found at: Smithsonian Scholarly Press

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