Malcolm MacGregor Collection of Autographed Stamps

Finding Guide
refer to caption

Souvenir Sheet signed by Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd American aviator and Polar explorer (Volume 15, page 19)

Prepared by Amelia B. Kile, Volunteer Research Assistant and Thomas Lera, Winton M. Blount Research Chair.


This collection is Malcolm MacGregor’s personally amassed collection of autographed stamps, covers, related correspondence, and ephemera. Thirty-three albums are present identified as Volumes 1-17B. Each volume is organized by theme and/or alphabetically by the stamp’s country of origin.


Malcolm MacGregor bequeathed the albums to the National Philatelic Collection, originally at the National Museum of American History. The collection was originally catalogued as 1,794 autographed objects and 1,407 unautographed philatelic objects, totaling 3,201 objects.


In the summer of 1948, Malcolm MacGregor focused his collecting activities to the securing of autographed stamps directly (for the most part) from the notables involved. His collection includes items signed by different people in whose honor the stamps were issued. These comprise notables from all walks of life - Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, Statesmen, Artists, Athletes, Aviators, Clergy, Composers, Explorers, and so forth.

MacGregor said “Endeavoring to get together a collection of autographed stamps one must be prepared for a number of rebuffs for not all of the notables portrayed on stamps will readily respond to requests for autographs. Sometimes involved negotiations are necessary before they are prepared to comply.”

MacGregor visited consulates and embassies where he was sometimes subjected to a thorough cross-examination of his life history before he obtained the autograph. He established friendships with distinguished people of many races and far-away places and received numerous invitations to visit them in their native countries.