Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
2000 Selected Articles

          This page includes selected articles from the 2000 issues of Across the Fence Post.


January issue

The Yugoslavian Region-

It’s challenging philately and perplexing culture

By Mike Lybarger, Badger Stamp Club

Mike Lybarger has written feature articles for ATFP in the past (September 1997 and January 1999). He recently retired from his position of professor of history and political science at Edgewood College in Madison, Wl.

The NATO air strikes that broke out in Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999, likely sent many philatelists scurrying to their albums in an effort to gain some familiarity with the Balkan states. Since a nation's stamps generally reflect its history and culture, some may even have been searching for clues as to what perpetrated this latest conflict between Serbia and the Kosovo province. While there are some clues to be found on stamps of this region, a tremendous void still exists.

Yugoslavia itself has issued many stamps since its formation in 1918-19 encompassing the republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Stamps of these Yugoslav entities, however, are few and far between (see listing on p. 7). Because of their constant state of war, they rarely have been in a position to administer their own postal services. Such discord makes it extremely difficult to trace the histories of these countries through philately. Connecting the dots between overprints to determine occupation and autonomy status, name and boundary changes is indeed a challenge.

For example, Figure 1 shows a 1910 Bosnia and Herzegovina issue with a Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (C.X.C.), 1918 overprint.

Figure 2 depicts King Peter I of Serbia on a 1925 general issue for use throughout the kingdom. Peter I reigned over the region until his death in 1921.

In 1929, the territory of the six united' republics was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, meaning "Land of the South Slavs." In 1945, the area was proclaimed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia; and in 1953, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Finally, following the 1991-92 secession of four of the original states, the remaining Serbia and Montenegro declared themselves the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

A further philatelic challenge is deciphering the Cyrillic alphabet used by these countries and the questionable collectibility of their stamps. But that's another story.

What remains is the more underlying question of why all the discord? Why such madness, carnage, and destruction have become a part and parcel of life in what some people call "heavenly Serbia."

To begin, let's go back to "Never again." That vow, uttered by individuals and nations at the conclusion of World War II, meant that never again would Europe permit the wholesale massacre of religious and ethnic groups.

When, in 1946, Churchill spoke about an "Iron Curtain" descending across Europe, he was referring to a condition between Eastern and Western Europe antedating the 20th century. Eastern and Western Europe have always been different. For example, Eastern Europe has never experienced a reformation or a renaissance, both of which have shaped the history of the West for more than four centuries.

After World War I, most of the nations of Western Europe and many in Eastern Europe installed liberal or democratic governments, but only in the West did these take hold. With the exception of Czechoslovakia and Poland, most nations in Eastern Europe moved toward authoritarianism between the wars.

Even in religion, each of the nations went its own way; there were struggles between Orthodox, Slovenian, Roman Catholic, Serbian and Muslim.

To fully understand why this happened, we need to endeavor to come to grips with what Paul Mojzes calls the mythic elements of Yugoslavian history. There is first the myth of land and blood. The land is sacred wherever people of a particular ethnic group live.

The second important myth is the one that turns defeats into victories and is called the crucifixion and resurrection myth. If a people are steadfast in the face of suffering, the songs they sing transform the defeats they suffer and will turn their present defeats into future victories. It seems safe to say that in Yugoslavia today most people learn their history through poems and songs.

The third - and perhaps the most important mythic element - is that time is understood mythologically rather than chronologically. Past and present are so intermixed that a grievance of 700 years duration is viewed as a present grievance requiring action and redress now.

Finally, the fourth myth. The only way a people who have been oppressed can regain their honor and self-respect is by means of war and its glorification. Like the Irish of years past, many people in Yugoslavia today do not want to win their freedom too easily - they want to fight for it.

It is relatively easy to understand how the states, which in 1918-19 became Yugoslavia had vastly different social, economic, political, and religious histories. Moreover, these people swing between freedom and servitude, slavery and liberty, love and hate.

What is not easy to understand is what Mojzes calls "the heritage of horror and savagery that is an element of the everyday world of the Balkans." Two examples will suffice here.

In 1014 the Emperor Basil defeated the forces of Tsar Samuel of the Bulgarian-Macedonian state. Basil had captured 15,000 Bulgarian-Macedonian soldiers.He divided his captives into groups of 100. In each group of 100 he blinded 99 of these men; the 100th man was blinded in one eye only so that he could lead his 99 blind comrades home. When Tsar Samuel beheld his army, he fainted and two days later died. The site of this atrocity is today called Ocevad, which means "dug out eyes."

Another act of savagery is recounted from the life of Starina Novak, a celebrated hero of the Serbs, who was a man of unspeakable cruelty not only to strangers but to his own family as well. A Serbian folk song tells how Starina's son, Grujica, sought permission from his father to murder his mother. Grujica killed his own mother by cutting off her right breast and both arms. With his father, he set the body on fire and warmed his hands on the fire.

Most people tend to give preference to their own group and suspect the motives of strangers. Christ himself urged people to take the log from their own eyes before trying to remove a splinter from their neighbor's eye.

Any outsider would have great difficulty in seeing any physical difference between the people of the Yugoslavian region. For the most part we in the West are used to the metaphor of the good guy and the bad guy.

Finally, we need to ask the question of what the current conflict in this area is all about? Clearly it has been about defending national liberty and territory. It has not been about protecting the value of human life. This war has been about individuals' cherished ideas - or ought to be. It has not been about compassion and liberty for the lives lost at present.

This has been a war about gaining propaganda advantages. It has not been about telling the truth. .

This has been a war of settling accounts. It has not been about building a life based on honesty and decency among human beings.

This has been a war about cruelty and survival at any cost. It has not been about acknowledging the terror and the feeling of empathy with the victims.

This has been a war about differences in religion, ethnicity, and culture. It has not been about faith in God or human beings.

This has been a war in which a bride has been wedded to her fiance at his funeral so she may bear his child.

This has been a war in which atrocities akin to those of Emperor Basil and Starina Novak have been committed. Although they have been videotaped, they've not been re-ported in the news.

This has been a war in which a 17-year-old may write from Zagreb: "You should know that no matter how often this land is trampled upon, Croatia cannot disappear. It would continue even if it had only five inhabitants. I hope to hear from you."

I began with the post-World War II ejaculation "Never again." I conclude with the words of the Greek poet Aeschylus: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad." •


Paul Mojzes, "Yugoslavian Inferno," Continuum Publishing Co., New York, 1995.

February issue

Donald K. "Deke" Slayton - A Wisconsin Hero

By Daniel G. Hammell. Janesville and Walworfh Stamp Clubs. Wisconsin Postal History Society

The following is a prelude to a feature article about the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which will appear in the April issue of ATFP.

The year 2000 is the 25th anniversary of one of the more momentous events of the decade of the 1970s - namely the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. For over three years, dozens of people in the world's two most powerful countries had labored together redesigning and rebuilding the communications and control systems and the tracking and the docking system so the nearly perfect flight of the spacecraft could take place.

Wisconsin's Deke Slayton (1924-93) was a part of that project. Slayton was born and grew up in Leon, near Sparta, WI. He graduated from Sparta High School and immediately joined the Army Air Forces. He became

a medium bomber pilot and during World War II flew 56 missions in the Italian area and another seven in the Pacific theater.

After the war, Slayton attended the University of Minnesota and in just 2'/z years earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering. As part of his Air Force career, he became a test pilot and finally was chosen as one of the original group of Mercury astronauts. A subsequent heart murmur, however, disqualified him from ever flying in that mission. He remained with NASA serving as director of flight crew operations until his heart condition improved and he received certification to join as the third man for the Apollo-Soyuz flight.

At the conclusion of that successful flight, Slayton helped develop NASA's space shuttle program. Due to a recurring heart condition, though, he never flew in space again. He left NASA in 1982 to set up his own business and fly racing planes. Slayton died from cancer in 1993.

Sparta, WI, is the home of the Deke Slayton Memorial, which is housed in Sparta's Space and Bike Museum. The museum is located at 200 West Main St. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - closed on holidays. •


"DEKE!", by Donald K. "Deke" Slayton with Michael Cassutt, paperback, 1994.

March issue

Wisconsin Precancels


By Thomas Sanford, Central Wisconsin Stamp Club

Tom Sanford began collecting precancel stamps in 1960. He is a very active member of the Precancel Stamp Society, currently serving as that group's Wisconsin editor. Tom writes at least six articles a year for the Precancel Forum, the monthly PSS publication.

He has produced three precancel publications of his own: a general Wisconsin local precancel catalog, a complete listing of the printed dated precancels used by Montgomery-Ward, and a checklist of the precancels of Belgium.

Tom is also a member of the Wisconsin Postal History Society, American Philatelic Society, and Bureau Issues Association.

He is a retired paper mill chemist and lives in Wisconsin Rapids.


Have you been collecting U.S. stamps for some time and are at the point where only the more expensive stamps are on your want list? Collecting was more fun when you could add a dozen stamps to your album instead of only one expensive item. You can continue to acquire thousands of U.S. stamps simply by adding precancels to your collection.

Bureau prints

Bureau print precancels are produced separately from other definitives on a two-unit press that prints the stamp design first and then prints the precancellation from a special plate. Bureau print precancels are needed for a complete U.S. definitive collection as much as the Kansas-Nebraska overprints are required for completing the 1926 series.

There are 9,522 known Bureau prints and if that quantity is too much of a challenge, you can collect just the Wisconsin Bureau prints.

Wisconsin Bureau prints

There are 194 Wisconsin Bureau prints. There are also two spelling errors that occurred on the Milwaukee 1 1/2c and 8csheet stamps of the 1926 series. The city is misspelled "Mikwaukee" in two positions on each pane of the stamps.

The rarest Wisconsin Bureau print is the Scott 599 20 coil with the old type Bureau print of Sheboygan. This 2c coil stamp with full perfs catalogs $125. The Sheboygan 2c coil is rare because the post office was robbed in the 1920s and the thieves took all the stamps in the safe. When they discovered the 2c coils were precanceled "Sheboygan," the rogues knew they could not sell them and, therefore, destroyed them.

Local precancels - town collection

To expand your collection of Wisconsin precancels, you can add the local precancels from 654 Wisconsin post offices. A collection of one example from each city is known as a town collection. While 75 percent of the towns can be found with little effort, the remainder requires attending precancel stamp shows and searching dealers' stock books.

Some town cancels are hard to locate because they originated from postal units that were discontinued. Sawyer, Wis., is one where the precancel device was used one time on one stamp denomination before the post office was closed.

Town and types collection

Big cities used several different precancel types over the years. For example, Milwaukee used 17 different local precancel devices and Racine used 13 different types. These two cities were also the first to employ precancels, and the earliest types were used in the 1890s.

A collection of all 1,311 Wisconsin types is known as a town and type collection. This is a popular way of collecting precancels from a state, but finding all the types is very difficult. Some of the precancel devices were in use for such a short time that less than 10 copies exist for some early types. For two Wisconsin towns, the first precancel type is known only on one stamp.

Wisconsin precanceled envelopes

For those interested in postal stationery, Wisconsin precanceled envelopes can be added as a sideline collection. From 1928 to 1965 the Post Office Department provided permit holders with precanceled envelopes for bulk third-class mail. These envelopes can be collected by denomination and watermark from 135 Wisconsin towns. The big user was Milwaukee with Madison a close second. A Wisconsin town collection of precanceled envelopes is not easy to assemble; I am still looking for one from Stevens Point.

General collection

The final way to collect precancels is to acquire one example of each denomination from each stamp issue for each town and type. This is called a general precancel collection and it provides an unending pursuit of precancels as unlisted denominations continue to appear every year.

A complete Wisconsin general collection will number 22,000 stamps or more. After I completed the Wisconsin towns and 95 percent of the types, the only way to continue collecting was to advance to Wisconsin general.

Forty years after I started collecting Wisconsin precancels I have nine two-inch binders housing my collection and the search continues at every local and national precancel show. I use my computer to custom-design and print all my album pages.

Precancel collecting resources

In 1988 I needed a checklist for my Wisconsin precancels so I began compiling a

catalog on my computer. The project expanded and many man-hours later I had edited and published a Wisconsin Local Precancel Catalog. The final revision was produced in 1995 after other collectors supplied more data on unlisted denominations

The catalog is available for $15 plus $3 postage. Send orders to: Tom Sanford, 3031 Second St. So., Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494.

The Precancel Stamp Society is a national organization. Annual dues are $15. Members receive a copy of the monthly bulletin, the Precancel Forum, which also contains information about local precancel stamp shows and the annual national convention held in August. For more information about the PSS, write to: Arthur Damm, 1750 Skippack Pike I11603, Center Square, PA 19422. 0

 April issue

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

By Daniel J. Hammell. Janesville and Walworth Stamp Clubs Wisconsin Postal History Society


The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the first significant manned space flight in which the United States participated with Soviet Russia, our greatest rival at the time. The project's objective was to dock the two spacecraft Apollo and Soyuz with each other while in space.

Accomplishing this goal required close cooperation with the Soviets in several areas, including:

• Manpower

• Spacecraft

• Control, communications, and facilities.

The Americans learned a second language - Russian; the Soviets used English, and it took many years of joint meetings before problems were resolved.

The project was executed 25 years ago, with July 17, 1975, celebrated as the date of the climax of the ASTP. This is when the two richest and most powerful nations on Earth proved they could succeed in bringing a difficult and complex task to a successful conclusion.

Planning the project

The ASTP program began in autumn 1959 with discussions between NASA and the Russian Academy of Science. Discussions continued through the spring of 1972, when major details were hammered out at a meeting in Moscow. The meeting culminated on May 24, 1972, with a Space Treaty signed by U.S. President Nixon and Premier Kosygin of the Soviet Union.

The most important detail of the treaty was the joining together in space of an American Apollo spacecraft with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in mid-July 1975. The mission required partner-ship of the two countries to meet all deadlines peacefully and on time.

During the next three years, the space organizations of both countries worked together to solve the many problems that came up. Five working groups of personnel from both countries each had their own areas of responsibility.

The final dress rehearsal came on June 25, 1975, when the rockets traveled to their respective launching pads. Communications, support systems and various procedures, including the docking, were tested, practiced, and finalized for the flights to proceed.

July 15, 1975, launch day

On July 15, 1975, Soyuz was launched into orbit from Baikonur Spaceport in Siberia at 8:19 a.m. EDT. Cosmonauts aboard were Alexei Leonov (commander) and Valerei Kubasov (engineer). At 3:50 p.m. EDT, Apollo was launched at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Its crew included astronauts Thomas Stafford (commander), Vance Brand (command module pilot), and Donald Slayton (docking module pilot). Both spacecraft launches were perfect as planned and practiced.

Crews on the spacecraft per-formed routine jobs in addition to several experiments in preparation for the major tasks of July 17. The chase continued with the distance between the spacecraft rapidly decreasing all through the day and nighttime hours while the crews slept.

July 16

There was a problem with the probe on Apollo but the crew straightened it out during the early morning hours. The remainder of the second day was busy but routine as the crews started their rest periods later on.

July 17, rendezvous

The morning of July 17, 1975, arrived with the Soyuz spacecraft still not in visible range. The distance, however, steadily decreased until contact was made at 8 a.m. EDT. Changes were made in Apollo's orbit and at 11 a.m. EDT the docking process was completed, enabling the two spacecraft to ride on together as one unit.

When the atmosphere cleared, the hatches were opened and Stafford and Slayton entered Soyuz at 2:17 p.m. EDT to be greeted by Leonov and Kubasov. Handshakes, speeches, along with some gift exchanges and words from U.S. President _ Ford and U.S.S.R. President Brezhnev completed the ceremonies at 5:47 p.m. EDT and wound up a good day for all. The Americans returned to Apollo, and the hatches were closed.

July 18

This was a day for transfer with crewmembers shifting back and forth between the two spacecraft. More experiments were conducted and TV broadcasts were made to both the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a busy but a good day.

July 19

After being together for nearly 44 hours, the first undocking took place at 7:12 a.m. EDT July 19, 1975, followed immediately by the "Artificial Eclipse of the Sun" experiment. After the experiment, the spacecraft quickly redocked for two hours, finally separating for the last time at 10:27 a.m. EDT. The remainder of the day was spent performing experiments as the two spacecraft remained in close proximity.

July 20-21, Soyuz return to Earth

The Soyuz crew finished their experiments and prepared for their return to Earth. According to the flight plan, Soyuz landed at 5:48 p.m. EDT on July 21, 1975, near its Baikonur launch site.

July 23-24, Apollo splashdown

Apollo astronauts continued their experimental work through July 23 and then prepared to leave space.

The Apollo splashdown occurred 4½ miles from the recovery ship New Orleans near Hawaii at 4:18 p.m. EDT on July 24, 1975. Because of some poisonous gas leakage, Apollo astronauts were forced to spend a two-week unscheduled stay in a hospital near Honolulu.

Following their trip back to Houston, the Apollo crew embarked on a tour of the United States and Russia receiving warm greetings at every stop. •

Major reference

"The Partnership," by Edward and Linda Ezell, NASA Publication No. SP-4209, 1978.

May/June issue

Ethics of Collecting Modern Postal History

By Barbara R. Mueller, Wisconsin Postal History Society

Barbara Mueller, a resident of Jefferson, WI, is one of our nation's most prestigious philatelists. She is the recipient of all of the pertinent honors that philately has to bestow, including the Lichtenstein Award and the American Philatelic Society's Luff Award.

Barbara's books about our hobby can be found in public libraries. Throughout the years, she has served as editor for several distinguished philatelic specialty journals and continues to contribute important research articles.

Needless to say, Barbara also is a member of the Wisconsin Philatelic Hall of Fame. We're, indeed, honored to have her following opinion on a difficult subject.


Last September, while at MILCOPEX, Karen Weigt asked me to write on this subject for ATFP - deadline of April 1. Well, here it is St. Patrick's Day 2000, and I'm rushing to meet her deadline. Frankly, the more I thought about the subject, the less I found to contribute! To put things in perspective, here is the gist of Karen's hypothetical situation:

It concerns the ethics of collecting contemporary used stamps and covers, especially those acquired by somewhat dubious means of the Dumpster-diving ilk. But it can also involve an up-front agreement with a business to pick up discarded envelopes for the sole purpose of clipping the stamps for a youth group.

Occasionally, a truly significant item will turn up that should be kept intact. Is the finder justified in reporting it to the press or a study group while concealing the source and any identification on the cover? Can the finder exhibit the item provided its anonymity is preserved in some manner? Can the item be sold thereafter, perhaps in another part of the country? When, if ever, can the cover come out of the closet?

I can offer no objective answers, only subjective views that involve one's own personal standards of right and wrong, of letting one's conscience be one's guide. I could stop right now, for that would be the ultimate solution. But since Karen won't let me off that easily, here are a few observations that may help.

Shredding laws

In Wisconsin, at least, the entire problem may soon become moot because of the new "Shredding Law" that went into effect on February 1; it requires companies to destroy any records containing personal information before disposing of them. Erasing or modifying records so such information is unreadable before the law allows disposal, but the emphasis is on shredding. Although many businesses already comply with the law, some may still feel vulnerable to the $1,000 fine per incident of failing to obliterate confidential records before they are trashed.

Since I do not know the location or nature of the donor businesses in Karen's example, I can go no further in applying the ramifications of the Shredding Law. However, it and probably similar legislation in other states may have a dampening effect on the enthusiasm of businesses to accommodate do-gooder stamp collectors. No covers - no ethical problem!

Confidentiality and research

An interesting variation of this problem is the use of correspondence contained in 19th-and early 20th-century covers to solve postal history problems, to shed light on the senders as role-players in some specific area of the posts, or to investigate a genealogical or social aspect of the letters. This brings to mind the ongoing series in Global Stamp News, by Robert Welt, a teacher in a New England middle school, who obtains covers from family archives and uses them to teach students about contemporary life at the time of their writing. One must assume that present-day descendants, if any, do not object to the publication of family correspondence...

Which brings up the possibility of finding solutions in another hobby that is booming - genealogy. Undoubtedly, these hobby groups have Web sites that could lead one to information, and there even are genealogy shops; 1 know of one on Highway 26 just north of Janesville called "Origins." The people involved could likely give their perspective on confidentiality.

Thievery from public records

A somewhat related situation regarding revenue stamps was reported in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the February 2000 American Philatelist. The writer, Manfred Groth of San Antonio, says:

"Two of my hobbies are genealogy and philately. Perusing old stamps is as enjoyable to me as reading the original copies of court records written by a clerk with his quill pen some 150 or 200 years ago. On a recent trip to visit county courthouses in Kentucky and Tennessee, I have run across a deplorable situation that affects both hobbies. Certain individuals have decided that revenue stamps on documents filed in courthouses are a source of income. These people have gone to courthouse archives and deliberately cut out the tax stamps (revenues) on documents filed in the post-Civil War era...

"Fortunately, these thieves have not managed to raid all courthouses... "Courthouse records are public documents that can be accessed by all. The removal of revenues from public documents is theft and should not be condoned by anyone.

"Are revenue collectors certain that the items in their collections were not illegally removed from public documents?"

Yes, indeed, many such revenues came out of the courthouses without authorization. I know of an instance here in Jefferson County, WI, many years ago where the son of a highly regarded 19th-century jurist roamed at will in the records and liberated the stamps, which later formed a substantial portion of his estate. Of course, at the time, the local officials thought little of this, although it was, as Mr. Groth said, theft from public records.

Well, our Dumpster divers and collectors of envelopes from businesses are not involved in such a serious crime but in my opinion, they will have to watch their steps as more and more people decide not to risk noncompliance with any new privacy laws and simply cut off their donations, worthy causes or not.


If any of us have personal scruples, then we simply have to forego the pleasures and/ or profits of discovery. After all, we must live with our consciences, and the good of philately or personal gains should be secondary considerations.

July/August issue No selected article this issue

September issue No selected article this issue

October issue

Philatelic Scouting

Part 1 – The Birth of Scouting in England

By Donald W Carter, Waukesha County Philatelic Society

We welcome back Don Carter as feature writer for the next two issues. Don has been associated with the Boy Scout movement for nearly 50 years as a Boy Scout and a Scout leader. He additionally holds, membership in the Scouts on Stamps Society International.

Don is also an extremely active member of the West Africa Study Circle and co-editor of The Sierra Leone Stamp Collector, a quarterly e-zine on the Internet. See the October and November 1999 issues far Don's past contributions to ATFP.


Collecting Scout-related philatelic materials has long been a hobby of Scouts, former Scouts, Scouters and others interested in this topical subject. Hundreds of Scouting stamps, covers and cards have been issued by numerous nations since Scouting began.

Lord Baden-Powell of Gillwell was a man of wide interests and many talents. During his lifetime he served as soldier, spy, artist, amateur actor, and founder of the Boy Scout movement in England.

Robert Baden-Powell was born in London, England, on February 2, 1857. His mother was a vice-admiral's daughter and his father was an Oxford University professor of mathematics. His father died when he was three years old.

Raised by his mother and older brothers, Baden-Powell was educated at Charterhouse, a private London school. Never a strong student, he preferred to concentrate on sports, dramatics and art while in school, and he spent numerous holidays camping in nearby woods and sailing with his brothers on the Thames River and along the coast of England.

At the age of 19, he failed the entrance exam to enter Oxford University but scored very high (second out of 70 candidates) on an exam to enter the British Army where he earned his commission and was posted to India as a member of the 13th Hussars, a British cavalry regiment. Baden-Powell served as a soldier for the next 34 years fighting in the Afghan wars of 1880-81. Later he fought in campaigns against the Ashantis in West Africa and the Zulus and Metabeles in Southern Africa. At one time, 1885-86, he traveled through Europe as spy gathering information on military fortifications.

During his career, Baden-Powell developed outstanding skills as a horseman, hunter, outdoorsman, tracker and leader. He was an accomplished artist and draftsman.

While stationed in South Africa in 1899, he was ordered to organize two mounted infantry regiments to guard the borders between Transvaal, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and Bechuanaland

(Botswana) against intrusion by Dutch settlers, or Boers. He established his headquarters in a small town in Bechuanaland called Mafeking where the Boers laid siege to the town for 217 days. With a small force of 700 soldiers, policemen and volunteers, he held off 7,000 of the enemy until a large British force finally relieved him.

During the siege, Baden-Powell used various devious tactics to fool the Boers into believing he had a major British force with him at Mafeking. It was here that he organized a uniformed corps of young boys to serve as messengers, orderlies and lookouts.

Returning to England a hero, Baden-Powell was promoted to major general and given the task of forming a South African constabulary organized into troops and patrols in much the same structure as he later used in the Scout movement.

In 1903, he returned to England and found that an army manual he had written called Aids to Scouting were being used by boys as a guidebook for outdoors fun. Baden-Powell was asked to rewrite the manual for boy's use. After much research and conducting an experimental summer camp in 1907 on Brownsea Island, he finally published his boys' manual, Scouting for Boys, in January 1908 as a series of pamphlets. It was published in book form in May 1908 and soon became the bible of the British Boy Scout movement. Shortly thereafter, Scout troops were springing up all over England and worldwide as the Scouting idea caught on.

At the first World Jamboree held in London in 1920, Baden-Powell was acclaimed "Chief

Scout of the World." In 1920, he was made a baron.

Baden-Powell's wife, Olave Lady Baden-Powell, founded a similar movement for girls in England and named it the Girl Guides.

Baden-Powell retired to Kenya at the age of 80 where he died on January 1941 shortly before his 84th birthday.

1t is only fitting that many countries have recognized Baden-Powell by issuing stamps honoring the hero of Mafeking and the founder of the Boy Scout movement, •

November issue No column this issue

Philatelic Scouting

Part 2 - boy Scouts of America

By Donald W. Carter, Waukesha County Philatelic Society


This year marks the 90th anniversary of Scouting in America. Soon after Baden-Powell founded scouting in England a few independent Scout troops began to form in different parts of the United States using Powell's books and methods.

Prior to the Scouting movement in England, however, two men in America had been instrumental in organizing woodcraft movements for boys in this country. In 1902, English artist, naturalist, woodsman and writer Ernest Thompson Seton formed an organization known as the Woodcraft Indians. The artist, surveyor and woodsman Daniel Carter Beard formed a second organization for boys called the Sons of Daniel Boone in June 1905.

At this same time, Baden-Powell was further developing his ideas for the Boy Scouting movement. Powell consulted with Seton and adopted many of Seton's ideas into his new program, especially the awarding of badges for completing certain specific tasks or skills.

The story of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) began in 1902 with a wealthy publisher named William D. Boyce who while on a business trip to London became lost in a pea-soup fog. A young boy of about 12 who offered to guide Boyce to the address he was looking for approached him. Offering the lad a shilling tip, the boy refused and informed him that he was a Scout and that Scouts do not accept tips for good turns.

Boyce was impressed, and after he completed his business, the young Scout took him to the British Scout office. Here Boyce acquired books and material, which he took back to the United States. On his return, he became determined to start a Scouting movement in America.

Boyce filed incorporation papers for the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He seems to have been unaware of unofficial troops that were already in existence in the country.

In the organization statement Boyce said, "The purpose shall be to promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scout craft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are in common use by Boy Scouts."

For a time, the new organization was slow to grow but with the help of three men from the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), headed by Edgar M. Robinson; the Boy Scouts began to prosper. With Robinson acting as the director, an office was opened as a National Scout Headquarters. Letters began to pour into the tiny one-room office and it became necessary to form a board of civic and youth leaders to guide the fledgling movement.

Seton (of the Woodcraft Indians group) was named the Chief Scout, and with his help the first publications were produced. Beard (of the Sons of Daniel Boone group) and Seton had a long disagreement over the origin of the Boy Scouts and it was some time before they reached agreement.

In 1911, Robinson resigned as BSA's executive secretary to return to the YMCA. A young lawyer named James E. West took the job, and during the next 30 years he built the BSA into a national institution.

The BSA got into the magazine business in 1912 by publishing its first issue of Boys Life in July of that year. A year later, Scouting Magazine for adult leaders was published for the first time.

Early in the formation of the BSA, numerous other youth groups attempted to use the word "scouts" or "scout" in their names. A number of these groups were quasi-military organizations emphasizing marching, drills and the use of live firearms. The worst was a warlike organization called "The American Boy Scout Movement," later "The United States Boy Scouts," which was sponsored by publisher William Randolph Hurst. After a lengthy court battle over the copyrighted name, the BSA won its suit against Hurst. Other competing Scout groups soon merged into the official BSA organization.


Both national and world jamborees (fellowship camps) are usually held every four years. They provide a chance for Scouts to meet each other and to further Scouting experiences not available at a local level. World jamborees, held in different countries, are often commemorated on postage stamps.

Collecting Scouts on stamps

Scouts on Stamps Society International (SOSSI) are the premier philatelic organization associated with collecting Scout-related philatelic materials. It was founded by Harry D. Thorson Jr. in 1951 and has been in existence for 50 years. Membership information can be obtained from Kenneth A. Shuker, 22 Cedar Ln., Cornwall, NY 12518.

A man in California has produced a very fine catalog of worldwide scout stamps and philatelic items. It is titled Scouts on Stamps - A Listing by Country of Issue and can be purchased at a very reasonable price. Its format is a three-ring binder with loose-leaf pages to allow for the annual new supplement pages. For further information, contact Paul's Scout Philatelic Publications, P.O. Box 6173, Moraga, CA 94570-6173; ptoneman@earthlink.net.

December issue No column this issue

Latest update: June 12, 2005

URL:   http://www.WFSCstamps.org/wfsc_atfp_articles_2000.shtml