Philatelic Society of Lancaster County
The James Buchanan Chapter #173 of the American Philatelic Society
Chapter #118 of the American Topical Association
Mission & History
The Philatelic Society of Lancaster County (PSLC) is an award-winning, non-profit community organization dedicated to promoting stamp collecting as a hobby for education and fun.
The PSLC began as the Lancaster Stamp Club in March 1923 with fifteen charter members meeting in the Science Building at Franklin & Marshall College. The PSLC is the James Buchanan Chapter of the APS #173 and Chapter #118 of the American Topical Association. For a more detailed history, visit the Society Archive.
A Stamp Collecting Club for the teenager to adult; from beginner to postal historian. Serving members from Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, York, Harrisburg, Hershey, Allentown and beyond.
A history of the PSLC was discovered in the Society archive. It was written in 1945 by one of the founding members, James L. Knipe. It has been transcribed by President Dr. Charles J. DiComo and being made available here, along with a PDF of the original and transcribed versions.
History of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, by James L. Knipe, 1945.
History of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, transcribed by Charles J. DiComo, PhD, 2020.
“History of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania”
by James L. Knipe
In the early months of 1938 Robert Ruppin, attorney-at-law, Lancaster, sent out letters to all philatelist throughout the county, particularly members of the American Philatelic Society, as a gesture to determine whether or not an A.P.S. chapter could be formed in this community. Several preliminary meetings were held and finally on May 20, 1938 in the law office of Mr. Ruppin, Room No. 514, Fulton National Bank Building, Lancaster, the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County was formally organized. One of the first acts was to file an application for membership in the American Philatelic Society. On August 1, 1938 the society became the James Buchanan Chapter No. 173 of the American Philatelic Society.
From its inception the Society has made an effort to attract members of the highest type so that the membership would always be a body of mature men and women of high character, all interested in actively promoting the interest and welfare of philately. At first membership required the attainment of one’s majority, but after two years the age minimum was reduced to eighteen.
The Society got started with a charter membership of twenty-four persons. Growth has been very slow from the beginning and during the war years beginning in 1940 the membership receded to a few less than the original number, but there is every indication that much of this was due to the rationing of gasoline and the many activities demanding one’s time during national trouble.
The bylaws of the Society call for six officers; President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, Sales manager, and (an) American Philatelic Society representative. The following officers have served the Society from its inception to date:
- For the term May 20, 1938 to November 27, 1939: Robert Ruppin, President; V.W.Voris,* Vice-President; Rollin L. Charles, Secretary; James L. Knipe, Treasurer; Robert H. Goodell, Sales Manager; and J. Andrew Frantz, A.P.S. Representative.
- For the term November 27, 1939 to October 20, 1940: Rollin L. Charles, President; James L. Knipe, Vice-President; Edgar W. Worrest, Secretary; Richard L. Singley, Treasurer; Robert H. Goodell, Sales Manager; and Owen Hershey, A.P.S. Representative.
- For the term October 20, 1940 to October 23, 1941: J. Andrew Frantz, President; Robert H. Goodell, Vice-President; Edgar W. Worrest, Secretary; Richard L. Singley, Treasurer; Donald B. Witmer*, Sales Manager; and Robert Ruppin, A.P.S. Representative.
- For the term October 23, 1941 to December 31, 1942: Robert H. Goodell, President; Richard L. Singley, Vice-President; Mabel Ruppin*, Secretary; Robert Ruppin*, Treasurer; Albert F. Witmer, Sales Manager; and James L. Knipe, A.P.S. Representative.
- For the 1943 term: Robert H. Goodell, President; Richard L. Singley, Vice-President; Edgar W. Worrest, Secretary; James L. Knipe, Treasurer; Albert F. Witmer, Sales Manager; and J. Andrew Frantz, A.P.S. Representative.
- For the 1944 term: James L. Knipe, President; Edgar Charles, Vice-President; Edgar W. Worrest, Secretary; Albert F. Witmer, Treasurer; J. Andrew Frantz, Sales Manager; and A.R. Gerhart, A.P.S. Representative.
- Officers for the 1945 term are: Edgar W. Worrest, President; Albert F. Witmer, Vice-President; Mrs. Edgar W. Worrest, Secretary; James L. Knipe, Treasurer; J. Andrew Frantz, Sales Manager; and J. Andrew Frantz, A.P.S. Representative.
Note: * These have since resigned from membership in the Society.
Monthly meetings were held until 1942 when gasoline rationing and war activities made it impossible to hold meetings at such frequent intervals. During 1943, meetings were held quarterly, and in 1944 the monthly schedule was again adopted, eliminating the summer months. The meetings have always abounded in a variety of interesting philatelic subjects interspersed with a few picnics or purely social gatherings, a good example of which was our entertainment at Norwood Farms in the lower end of the County by John Andrews, and the well-known “October” meetings chez Andy Frantz. From time to time the leading speakers on philatelic subjects have come to Lancaster to appear before the Society. Neither the educational nor social side has been neglected. Several times during the year auctions are held and when they are the opportunity to attend them is usually extended to persons other than members of the Society.
There is a great deal of direct exchange between members, as it is apparent that the society of this kind offers limitless opportunities for members to exchange stamps and thus add to their collections.
The Society is proud of the fact that it has among its members philatelists of international reputation. Robert Ruppin, who discontinued practicing law in 1942 to transfer his Robert Fulton Stamp Company to Portland, Maine, has now become a dealer of international reputation. Robert G. Goodell, winner of many blue ribbon prizes, is well known to dealers and publishers as a result of this broad knowledge of the subject. Richard Singley, one of the charter members, has been national president of the American Airmail Society. Dr. Arthur R. Gerhart, usually found on the Board of Judges of many exhibitions, is internationally recognized for his specialized collections of Japan, Heligoland, and broad general knowledge of philately. In addition to these star performers, the Society can boast a membership of good substantial collectors who consistently and conscientiously follow their hobby, as will be observed from the following list of members:
|6||Y||Edgar W. Worrest||R.D. No. 5||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|7||H. Dorn Stewart||938 Pleasure Rd||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|8||Y||J. Andrew Frantz||35 N Lime St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|9||Y||Robert H. Goodell||921 Helen Ave||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|11||James L. Knipe||1004 Wheatland Ave||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|12||Ralph S. Landis||R.D. No. 6||Lititz||20-May-38|
|13||Owen Hershey||314 Linden St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|16||Y||Albert F. Witmer||117 E Clay St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|17||Richard L. Singley||1022 W Ross St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|22||Henry B. Howell||22 E Walnut St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|23||C. Howard Witmer||126 E Chestnut St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|28||George T. Hambright||548 S Ann St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|29||Y||Mrs. George T. Hambright||548 S Ann St||Lancaster||20-May-38|
|30||Robert W. Gabriel||Quarryville||21-Oct-38|
|34||Ira G. Hershey||136 N George St||Millersville||20-Feb-39|
|38||Y||John H. Andrews||Paradise||21-Apr-39|
|42||Y||Wilson Brubaker||246 E New St||Lancaster||1-Apr-40|
|44||Wm. J. Harvey||46 N West End Ave||Lancaster||20-Mar-41|
|45||Y||Edgar Charles||504 Fifth St||Minneapolis, MN||20-Mar-41|
|46||Y||Ida L. Hostetter||715 N Duke St||Lancaster||23-Jun-41|
|47||Y||Mrs. Elva K. Staman||538 Chestnut St||Columbia||20-May-42|
|48||Y||Arthur R. Gerhart||1116 Louise Ave||Lancaster||20-May-42|
|49||Y||J. Richard Gaintner||107 Atkins Ave||Lancaster||20-Oct-43|
|50||Y||Roy W. Donaldson||823 State St||Lancaster||20-Oct-43|
|51||Y||William F. Taylor||543 N Mary St||Lancaster||20-Oct-43|
|52||Y||Mrs. Marion S. Walker||144 E Chestnut St||Lancaster||20-Oct-44|
|53||Y||Richard H. Shopf||77 Spencer Ave||Lancaster||20-Nov-44|
|54||Y||Rev. Fra D. Lavery||Neffsville||19-Jan-45|
|55||Y||Mrs. Edgar W. Worrest||R.D. 5||Lancaster||19-Jan-45|
Note: All who joined May 20, 1938 are charter members. 29 original members, 18 still hold original membership number. Those members with a Y still retained same number.