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Adapted from Volume 20 Number 1 Spring 1998
Foil A. Miller
960 Lakemont Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15243 USA

CPOSSU and PCP is approaching its 30th year. Because many of our members have joined more recently, a brief history may be of interest. We start with a tabulation of the officers.

  1. President
    1979-1981Richard Gratton
    1982-1983Edwin S. Hodge
    1984-1986Duane F. Zinkel
    1987-1988Walter J. Balfour
    1989-1991John B. Sharkey
    1992-1995Arthur Fentin
    1998-presentMichael A. Morgan

  2. Secretary-Treasurer
    1979-81Peter Berlow
    1982-82Foil A. Miller
    1984-88Edwin S. Hodge
    1989Foil A. Miller (acting)
    1989-presentRoland F. Hirsch

  3. Editor
    1979-80Richard Gratton
    1981Peter Berlow
    1982-83Robert E. Witkowski
    1984-90Charles S. (Sherry) Kettler
    1991David G. Hendricker (acting)
    1991-96J. Dennis Pollack
    1996-97David G. Hendricker (acting)
    1997-2004Foil A. Miller
    2005-2016Daniel Rabinovich
    2016-presentDavid White

  4. Associate Editor
    1982-83Peter Berlow
    1984-85Robert E. Witkowski
    1985-presentDavid G. Hendricker

The journal Philatelia Chimica was founded by Richard Gratton while he was still a graduate student at McGill University in Montreal. Volume 1, No. 1 was dated May 1, 1979. It contained an article by Duane Zinkel and a picture of the current Pittsburgh Conference covertwo features that still continue. The issue was 15 pages long, and contained many illustrations of stamps, FDCs, and maximum cards. The annual membership fee was $5 per year, for which the journal was sent anywhere in the world. The press run was 75 copies, but this was reduced to 50 for issue #2. There were 20 members by the time of the second issue. Mr. Frank N. Gomba (still a member) wrote to suggest that physics be included, but this was not done formally until 1985. Miguel Fortea of Spain, also still a member, suggested the name Philatelia Chimica.

The American Topical Association (ATA) requires that its units have by-laws, and our first ones appeared in 1, #3 p 54. By October 1, 1979 there were 40 members, and the Unit had received its charter (1, #4, pp 80-81). Volume 1 had five issues totaling 103 pages, and there were 50 members by December 1979.

In 1980 there was a contest for a logo. Members voted on six entries, and the one by Edwin S. Hodge was selected. It was first used in 3, #1 (1981), and still appears on the masthead with only minor changes. After three years of service, Richard Gatton and Peter Berlow thought it was time for new leadership, so a trio of Pittburghers took office in 1982: Edwin S. Hodge as President, Foil Miller as Secretary-Treasurer, and Robert E. Witkowski as Editor.

In 1982 the Unit became affiliate number 123 of the American Philatelic Society. Ed Hodge prepared a FDC and a souvenir card for the first day ceremonies for the Joseph Priestley stamp held at Priestleys home in Northumberland, PA on April 13, 1983. They are pictured in PC 5, pp 7, 10, and 13 (1983). He also prepared a souvenir card for the national American Philatelic Society held in Pittsburgh in August 1983 (shon in PC 5, p 55). The same month the Unit participated in a stamp show at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC.

In 1983 Ed Hodge proposed including physics, and changing the name of the Unit to the Chemistry and Physics on Stamps Study Unit and the name of the journal to Philatelia Chimica et Physica. These changes were not actually made until 1985. 1983 was also the start of Foil Millers annual series on Some 19xx-19xy Stamp Issues of Scientific Interest (now co-authored with Russell Harvey), which still continues in the new millenium.

In the early years Philatelia Chimica carried a few paid advertisements. This was terminated in 1985 when it was found that one of the advertisers was operating from a jail! On a happier note, that same year David G. Hendricker took over the printing and distribution of the journal, which he still continues to do in a most competent manner. Unit members are greatly indebted to him for his outstanding service. On two occasions he has served as Acting Editor when the post of Editor was vacant.

New by-laws under which the Unit still operates were published and adopted in 1985 (PC 7, pp 27, 51, and 78 (1985)). This marked the formal inclusion of Physics, with changes in the name of the Unit and of the Hournal to the ons used today. The logo was also changed slightly at the suggestion of Frank N. Gomba.

In late 1987, under the leadership and hard work of David Hendricker, the Unit issued a checklist of stamps related to chemisty. There was a greatly enlarged and improved edition in 1993, and Updates were issued in 1993 and 1995. This huge undertaking was the most inportant achieement of the Unit aside from the regular publication of PCP. It is further reason to be grateful for David Hendrickers hard and effective work for the Unit.

In 1987 Duane Zinkel begins his Clearinghouse feature after finishing his term of office as President. In 1988 Sherry Kettler produced a special issue of the Journal to mark 10 years of publishing PC and PCP (10, #4 (1988)). It was outstandingthe best issue that had appeared so far.

It is sad to report that the following three Unit officers had died, the last two while in office:
Peter Berlow, April 1985 Edwin S. Hodge February 26, 1985 Sherry Kettler February 10, 1991

The Edwin S. Hodge Memorial Award for the best paper published in PCP during the previous year was announced in 1989. Award winners have been:

  1. Heilbronner, Kettler, Miller, and Rappoport, Chomical Errors on Chemical Stamps, PCP 12, #2, 33-64 (1990)
  2. Russell Harvey, Fire, Phosphorous, and Matchsticks, PCP 13, #4 99-106 (1991).
  3. David G Hendricker, Solvy-Ay Mystery, PCP 14, #2, 47-51 (1992).
  4. Russell Harvey, Our Polluted Air, PCP 15, #1, 4-17 (1993).
  5. Russell Harvey, Spotlight on Tin. PCP 16, #4, 88-93 (1994).

An annual award for outstanding issues in chemistry and physics was announced in 1992. Selections were made by ballot for 1993 and 1994, and awards for both years were presented by Roland Hirsch at the appropriate embassies in Washington, DC. Vacancies in the office of President and Editor during 1995-7 brought a pause to several of these activities, but hopefully the Unit is now getting back on its feet. Membership has hovered around 200 for the past several years.

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