Founding of a Philatelic Federation
By John A. Cali, Historian
The Federation of Central New York Philatelic Societies was founded on March 17, 1940. It seems that the idea for such an organization came up between 1939-40. Edward Richardson and Bill Hassan of Ithaca contacted area clubs through a personal visit. The clubs approached were Cortland, Watkins Glen, Elmira, Syracuse, Geneva, Auburn, Binghamton, Utica, and Corning. All accepted the idea except Geneva and Utica. There was much enthusiasm by the proposers.
Quoting Ed Richardson: “Why was the Federation so easy to sell?
“First — those of us promoting the Federation were very enthusiastic about the idea — and, like measles, enthusiasm is catching! I wouldn’t give an ounce of empty broken egg shells for the leader who lacks enthusiasm for the task he accepts — make him your Chairman of Exhibits and his final report will be nothing but complaints.
“Second — the club leaders and members could see the wisdom of holding one good federation show a year, rather than each club competing for exhibits, dealers and advertising.
“Third — There were so many other possibilities for activities at the Federation level — not possible at the local level. Like summer picnics, really good membership directories and we envisioned perhaps a quarterly, Finger Lakes Philatelist. Who knew then what possibilities would lie ahead? It would depend upon the future leadership and vision of its officers, but the opportunities were there.”
Activities resulted in stamp exhibitions, philatelic publications, speakers bureau, a judges’ stand, a library of slide programs, memorabilia collected on affiliated clubs. Other activities that took place were federation auctions, and annual picnics. The Federation enjoyed a zest for philatelic activity that has not been seen since.
The First Congress and Exhibition was held Sunday, November 3, 1940, at Ithaca High School. The second show was held November 1-2, 1941, in Binghamton. Shows resumed after World War II. Records indicate that no show was held in 1950. Federation shows gave way to the UNIPEX exhibitions, which were joint federation shows with the Niagara Federation of Stamp Clubs. These were held in 1965, 1967, 1970, and 1972. The federation did, however, support BICENPEX ‘76, Syracuse Stamp Club’s exhibition. Since then, there was EMPEX the Federation’s 50th anniversary in 1990. It was a very popular show and as such was deemed a success by all who attended. Other aspects of the show rendered it less popular locally.
Past presidents of the Federation are: Edward Richardson, H. Bennett Van Duzer, Donald Burgess, Frederick Scholl, Morris Ketchum, Richard Compton, Cleon Morey, Anton Zahm, Charles Sweeting, Clyde Conrow, Arthur Williams, Gordon Parker, Clifford Tuttle, Harold Baxter, Axel S. Pedersen, Eugene Gillett, Donald P. Connelly (acting president for the balance of Gillett’s final term), Ronald J. Traino, William J. Apel, and Louis T. Call. The current president is John J. Nunes.
Federation territory was added starting in the mid 1950s. The following counties were added
to the federation:
1955-56: Fulton, Montgomery, Albany and Rensselaer
1959: Schoharie, Jefferson and Lewis
October 1964: Ulster and Greene
October 1968: Orange
October 1969: Dutchess and Rockland
March 1971: Sullivan
June 1984: St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, Saratoga, and Washington
June 1985: Monroe
June 1993: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Niagara, Orleans, Putnam, Westchester, and Wyoming
Our federation jurisdiction now encompasses all of the state except New York City and its environs. These additions to our jurisdiction allow for other clubs, not currently affiliated with the Federation, the opportunity to join.
Later additions to the Federation include:
1955: Fort Orange Stamp Club of Albany
1959; Schenectady Stamp Club
1968: Uncle Sam Stamp Club of Troy
1972: Leatherstocking Stamp Club of Cooperstown
1979: Fulton Stamp Club
2005: Dansville Area Coin & Stamp Club
The Road to the Stamp Insider
Excerpted from the June 14, 1959 minutes by Secretary Austin Dulin:
“There are advantages and obligations that go along with federation membership. These are not actually spelled out anywhere at present. There is a problem of communication between clubs in such a large federation. In an attempt to correct both these situations President Zahm and [a] delegate both suggested some sort of a newsletter. The idea was discussed and it was decided to issue a monthly news bulletin.
“Then came the problem of finding some hard working individual foolish enough to volunteer for editorship. Fred Scholl surprised me as I had always given him credit for intelligence, but he stuck his neck out. Now we have the tool — it is up to you to use it. Flood Fred with reports of your meetings, announcements of forthcoming events, questions regarding the Federation, your own particular club, or what have you. But make use of the bulletins. The success is up to your club.”
Between September 1983 and June 1984, Ronald J. Traino, the late William Kelsey, and I came up with the Stamp Insider, which debuted in September 1984. We had reviewed the past federation efforts in producing a directory and a newsletter as well as considering the method and scope of such an undertaking. The Stamp Insider has come a long way in its life of more than two decades.