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St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society
Past SHATPS Officers
Vivian W. Finne, 1976-1979
Russell V. Skavaril, 1979
John L. Havill, 1980-1985
Dr. Peter P. McCann, 1986-1990
Dr. Jeffrey P. Vadheim, 1990-1993
Michael Mueller, 1994-1997
Dr. Everett L. Parker, 1998-2001
Dr. Gale Raymond, 2002-2003
Ronald F. Burn, 2004-2007
Ted Cookson, 2008-2011
John Coyle, 2012-2015
C. Peter Perrett 1981-1983
Peter P. McCann, 1984-1985
Peter W. Knightes, 1986-1990
Dev Miller, 1990-1992
Michael Mueller, 1992-1993
Dr. Eli Goodman, 1994-1997
Bradley W. Brunsell, 1998-2001
Robert Richardson, 2002-2005
Ted Cookson, 2005-2007
John Coyle, 2008-2011
Dr. T. Philip Hicks, 2012-2015
Vivian W. Finne, 1977-1983
Donald F. Neville, 1984-1985
Dr. Everett L. Parker, 1986-1987
Vivian W. Finne, 1987-1993
John Havill, 1994-2007
Ted Cookson, 2007-2008
Thomas Bowman, 2008-2011
Sherwin Podolsky, 1977
Vivian W. Finne, 1978-1981
Douglas A. Kelsey, 1981-1984
Diana Manchester, 1984-1985
Albert W. Myers, 1986-1987
Dr. Russell V. Skavaril, 1988-2001
John Havill, 2001-2007
Bradley W. Brunsell, 2007-2015
Barbara Kuchau, 2015-2016
James E. Kraemer 1978-1987
Sherwin D. Podolsky, 1978-1983
Michael Pottier, 1979-1982
Peter P. McCann, 1980-1983
Bernard J. Mabbett, 1980-1987
Dr. Eli Goodman, 1984-1988, 2002-2006
Jack Harwood, 1988-1993
Jeffrey P. Vadheim, 1988-1990
Arthur H. Groten, 1988-1993
John L. Havill, 1988-1993
Erik R. Sevaard, 1988-1993
Peter W. Knightes, 1990-1993
David J. Allen, 1994-1997
Robert Deakin, 1994-1997
Vivian Finne, 1994-1997
Dr. Peter P. McCann, 1994-1997
Dr. Gale Raymond, 1994-1997
Dr. William Mayo, 1996-2003, 2006-2009
Quinten Keynes, 1998-2001
Guy Marriott, 1998-2001
Robert Richardson, 1998-2001
Thomas Verich, 1998-2001
Bradley W. Brunsell, 2002-2006
Dr. T. Philip Hicks, 2002-2006
Michael Mueller, 2002-2006
Ted Cookson, 2004-2005
Lucy Prentice, 2006-2009
John Coyle, 2006-2007
John Leonowich, 2006-2007
Mike Faulds, 2006-2009
Ronald F. Burn, 2008-2009
Dr. Everett Parker, 2008-2011
Klaus Hahn, 2010-2011
Alf Taylor, 2010-2011
Dr. Stan Atherton, 2010-2013
Genie N. Murphy, 2010-2013
Dr. William Mayo, 2012-2015
Guy Marriott, 2012-2015
Michael D. Mueller, 2014-2015
Russell V. Skavaril, 1977-1979
Vincent C. Henrich, 1979
Russell V. Skavaril, 1980-1987
Dr. Everett L. Parker, 1988-2006
Dr. T. Philip Hicks, 2006-2007
Directors of Communications:
Jeffrey P. Vadheim, 1988-1992
Michael Mueller, 1992-1997, 2004-2008
Dr. Eli Goodman, 1998-2004
Dr. T. Philip Hicks, 2005-2015
Dr. Russell V. Skavaril, 1996-2000
Dr. Alexander H. Schulenburg, 2001-2010
Erik. R. Sevaard, 1977-1990
Sean T. Power (U.K. Branch), 1982-1989
Ernest E. Roberts, 1990-2003
Michael Mueller, 2004-2005
Erik R. Sevaard, 1978-1979
Frederick C. Kast, Jr., 1979-1981
George E. Montrose, 1981-1982
Peter W. Knightes. 1982-1985
David J. Allen, 1986-2001
Kimberly C. Skavaril, 1980-1982
Michael D. Skavaril, 1980-1986
Julia K. Skavaril, 1980-1987
Gregory N. Skavaril, 1980-1986
John L. Havill , 1977-1988
Immediate Past Presidents:
All Presidents then undertake the board
role of Immediate Past President
for the term of the succeeding President
Barbara W. Nickerson, 1979-1981
Russell V. Skavaril, 1981-1988
Stephen Menke, 1980-1985
Bernard J. Mabbett, 1982-1988
History of the St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society 1977-2016
By Michael D. Mueller, Senior Editor, 30th Anniversary Anthology and former President Ted Cookson
Our 20th Anniversary Anthology, edited by Dr. Russell V. Skavaril, included an excellent history of our society written by Mrs. Vivian W. Finne, who we consider to be the founding member of our organization. It was my privilege to assist with that historical record.
Mrs. Finne passed away in 2002. It now falls to me to write the history of our organization since 1996 for our Thirty Years of St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philately. Some readers of this book may be unfamiliar with the deeper story of our society, however. Therefore, I will first present an abbreviated and slightly edited version of Mrs. Finne's history to provide an historical perspective.
From Mrs. Finne's History
"Asking a simple question can lead to unbelievable involvements and a wonderful collection of new friends. Such was the case for me in 1975 when I wrote to Linn's Stamp News and asked if there was a society specializing in St. Helena, a remote and little-known island in the South Atlantic.
"Soon after, I heard from Russell Skavaril, Alan Barash, Edward Bannigan, Peter McCann and John Havill. They wanted to know what I found out as a consequence of my letter in Linn's. As it turned out, no society existed. However, Russ, Alan, Edward, Peter and John and I began writing to each other.
"At Interphil '76, I met with Edward and he urged me to take the first steps toward organizing a society-like activity for our small group of correspondents. So, I gathered some philatelic material, wrote a letter to go with it, and started a Round Robin, which we later called a circuit…Trevor Hearl of England contacted me and offered to share his vast information about St. Helena.
"The St. Helena Study Group was formally launched in April 1977 with the issuance of a two-page newsletter…In May, a one-page bulletin listing our eleven members announced that Russ Skavaril would be director, I would be membership chairman…In July 1977, Vol. 1, No. 2 of the St. Helena Study Group Newsletter was mailed to the membership, which had grown to 25…The 18-page January 1978 issue of the Newsletter was packed with articles, Society news, information…A logo contest was underway…
"We felt the need to develop a constitution and bylaws. Similar societies were contacted and we obtained a variety of useful documents for study…the task fell to me to study the materials and formulate working drafts…A special committee was appointed to study the draft documents, the final drafts written by Russell Skavaril. These were approved and signed by the committee and became official on January 1, 1979 . However, our Constitution and Bylaws did not go into effect until January 1, 1980 , when our first elected officers took office.
"At STaMpsSHOW '79, held in Boston, our St. Helena and
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Dependencies Philatelic Society Newsletter, the name of our journal back then, received a silver medal in the national philatelic literature competition.
"A major event in our history was a society meeting at LONDON 1980 on May 7 at Earl's Court. Seventeen members attended from the British Isles, Canada, the United States, South Africa and Ascension Island. Russell Skavaril conducted a brief meeting, which was followed by a series of talks by members…In July 1981, the St. Helena Scientific Expedition of the Department of Geography, University College, London, departed for St. Helena , taking with it a bundle of cacheted covers for our society.
"Through the kindness of Governor Massingham, in 1984, we secured 30 first day covers of a set of four St. Helena postage stamps issued in January 1983 and featuring views of the island. The covers were autographed by Roland Svensson, the artist who painted the scenes depicted on the postage stamps.
"The year 1986 marked our tenth year as a society. We celebrated with four major events: participation in AMERIPEX '86, creation of a group of six commemorative covers, introduction of major changes in our quarterly, and a revision of our Constitution and Bylaws…Roger B. West made nine cachet designs; the membership selected three for the covers…In July 1986 our quarterly was re-christened South Atlantic Chronicle…In 1987 Russell Skavaril, the editor of our journal, became seriously ill and found it necessary to step down…Luckily, Everett Parker volunteered to take over….
"Our first monograph was printed in 1991, under the supervision of President Jeffrey Vadheim. It featured two extensive research articles by Society members…published previously in the American Philatelic Congress Book… "The Postal History of St. Helena During the Napoleonic Exile" by Arthur E. Groten, M.D., and "St. Helena Boer Prisoners of War Censor and Camp Handstamps" by Russell V. Skavaril, Ph.D., and I.D. Lampart.
"Under the guidance of President Michael Mueller, several new activities have been adopted to recognize members who have made notable contributions to the society. Foremost of these is the creation of the Castella Award, bestowed to a member for outstanding service to the society. The award was given first in 1993, to Vivian Finne. Russell Skavaril was the recipient in 1994, Trevor Hearl received the Castella Award in 1995...
"In 1995 our society received an exceptionally generous gift from Honorary Member Allan B. Crawford—his stamp design file for the set of four "Lost Lifeboat" postage stamps issued in 1985. It was offered successfully by private treaty in 1996. The proceeds from the sale of the Allan Crawford "Lost Lifeboat" file provide a needed financial base."
As Mrs. Finne noted, we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a book—St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society's 20th Anniversary Anthology—for which the World Columbian Stamp Exposition awarded our society a $1500 matching grant. I wrote the grant proposal; Dr. Peter P. McCann gave vital support during the application process. The members of our society donated more than $1700.
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20th Anniversary Anthology Published in 1997
We had hoped to publish our 20th Anniversary Anthology in 1996 but it required more work than anticipated. Dr. Skavaril soldiered on month after month largely alone. Finally, it was published on September 1, 1997. Virtually everyone agreed that it was well worth the wait. Our 20th Anniversary Anthology was awarded a Gold in the philatelic literature competition at OKPEX '98 and a Vermeil at COLOPEX '98.
The sale of the stamp design file and donations to the 20th Anniversary Anthology Fund prompted our officers to seek tax-exempt status for our society. Member Sanford Smith, a lawyer, prepared and submitted the application. Shortly after the U.S. Internal Revenue Service granted our society 501(c)(3) status. This status, in addition to exempting an organization from tax liabilities, encourages cash and non-cash donations from American members as such gifts can be itemized on tax returns as charitable contributions.
Website Created; Crawford Award to Taylor
Something new appeared on the cover of the South Atlantic Chronicle (SAC) in October 1996: an invitation to visit our home page. The website, created by Dr. Skavaril, provided information about our organization and the philately of St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Later, Dr. Skavaril added a sample copy of the SAC and details about our 20th Anniversary Anthology. Visitors could download an application to join our society.
Following the sale of the "Lost Lifeboat" file, a competition was held for best Tristan da Cunha article published in our quarterly during 1998 and 1999. In 2000, the Allan B. Crawford Award for Excellence in Philatelic Literature, a one-time award that included $100 in cash, went to Robin Taylor of the United Kingdom. The Crawford Award was presented a second time in 2006 as part of our celebration of the quincentenary of the discovery of Tristan da Cunha.
The Passing of Dr. Skavaril and Mrs. Finne
Sadly, Dr. Skavaril died in November of 2000. Mrs. Finne passed away in April of 2002. The losses left us numb. No one knew the society better than Russ and Vivian, or cared about it as deeply. They were the twin engines—the heart and soul—of our organization. Fortunately, we recorded much of what they knew about the history of our society in the 20th Anniversary Anthology .
We dedicated the April 2001 South Atlantic Chronicle to Dr. Russell V. Skavaril. Dr. Peter P. McCann, Mrs. Vivian W. Finne, myself, and others contributed remembrances and appreciations. A little over a year later a photo of Mrs. Finne graced the cover of the July 2002 South Atlantic Chronicle. At the request of President Gale Raymond, I prepared the obituary, titled "Farwell Mrs. Vivian W. Finne, 77-01." Vivian was the first member of our society, formally established in 1977.
To a great degree, the history of our society from 2000 to 2005 is a story of loss. Several members who founded our organization, served as officers, contributed fine articles and/or
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had important connections to our islands and passed away: Dr. Russell V. Skavarill (2000), Mrs. Vivian W. Finne (2002), Roland Svensson (2003), Quentin Keynes (2003) Rozell C. Smith (2005), Dr. G. Scott (2005) Robert W. Richardson (2005) and Dr. Gale J. Raymond (2005) and others. It's been a tearful experience for those of us who knew and worked with them.
With so much loss we went through a quiet spell in our society, especially after the death of Dr. Skavaril. Vivian had largely withdrawn from society activities by then due to health problems. Bob Richardson, who had co-authored articles with Russ before striking out on his own, continued to contribute to our journal, as did Trevor Hearl, Robin Taylor and others. Our organization was little more than a quarterly, however. Like others, my primary focus was to provide material for our journal.
It is probably fair to say that Dr. Everett L. Parker, who served as President of our society from 1998 to 2002—and who has served as Editor of the South Atlantic Chronicle since 1986—carried our organization on his shoulders in 2001.
Dr. Schulenberg Expands Website
Following the death of Russ Skavaril, Dr. Parker arranged for Dr. Alexander H. Schulenberg of the United Kingdom to become the new Webmaster. At first, Dr. Schulenberg continued the website as developed by Dr. Skavaril, updating the names and addresses of officers as needed. In 2004 and 2005, he expanded and fully updated our website.
Secretary-Treasurer Position created
Dr. Skavaril had served as Treasurer for many years. After Russ passed away, Everett arranged for Secretary John Havill to combine the responsibilities or Treasurer with the Secretary position.
First British President; Society Self-Study
When the time came for President Parker to prepare for succession, Dr. Gale J. Raymond agreed to stand for the top position. No one knew that Dr. Raymond's health was starting to fail. Typically, our officers serve two, back-to-back, two-year terms, with elections held every two years. In 2003, Dr. Raymond requested that he be allowed to step down after one term. Luckily, Ron Burn of England was prepared to stand for President. Mr. Burn, the first non-American President of our society, began his first term on January 1, 2004.
In 2002 it became apparent that we needed to rejuvenate our society. Dr. Raymond, Dr. Parker and I discussed the state of our organization and decided that a society self-study would be a good starting point. Dr. T. Philip Hicks, then Science and Technology Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Tokyo, agreed to serve as Chairman of the Society Self-Study Committee. The Committee surveyed the membership and produced a report, which was published in the October 2003 South Atlantic Chronicle. An important finding was the need to further develop our website. This finding laid the foundation for work on the website by Dr. Schulenberg, with the participation of Ted Cookson, an officer who has taken special interest in the possibilities of our home page.
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The Presidents Circle
In 2003 the Board decided to create a new entity: The Presidents Circle, a consultative body composed of past presidents and the sitting president. The Presidents Circle serves the officers and project leaders in an advisory capacity and, in the event of a crisis, is available to provide balance and leadership. Dr. Peter P. McCann, one of our past presidents, and the Immediate Past President of the American Philatelic Society, agreed to serve as the first Chairman of The Presidents Circle. The members of the Circle select the Chairman.
Despite the dark days of 2001 and 2002 the society moved forward. In May of 2002 we produced our second monograph: U.S. Consular Mail from St. Helena Relating to the Wreck of the Schooner Emily at Tristan da Cunha in 1836 and the Mysterious Behavior of Captain Benjamin F. Ash by Michael D. Mueller. The monograph, published for the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Island of St. Helena, opens with superb introductory articles by Trevor Hearl (on the consuls and forwarding agents at Jamestown ) and Allan B. Crawford, MBE (on the shipwrecks at Tristan da Cunha).
The U.S. consular mail presented in the St. Helena quincentenary monograph provides the first information about the wreck of the Emily to come to light in 170 years. The shipwreck—a key event in the island's history—delivered Peter Green to Tristan. Mr. Green became a highly influential headman and established a new family name on the island.
We published our third monograph early in 2004: A Diary of the Final Cruise of the RMS St. Helena to Tristan da Cunha January 15 – 28, 2004 by Ted Cookson, our Vice President. The monograph documents in detail many interesting aspects of the final, regularly scheduled voyage to Tristan by the Royal Mail Ship. In fact, our third monograph was a co-production by Mr. Cookson and the society. To a great degree, it was a gift from our Vice President to the membership.
Though the RMS St. Helena ceased service to Tristan da Cunha in 2004, the Royal Mail Ship provided a quincentenary cruise to the island group in 2006. Tristan da Cunha was discovered in 1506 by the Portuguese explorer Tristao da Cunha. The Royal Mail Ship made an extended visit to the islands, with landings at Tristan, Nightingale, Inaccessible and Gough Island. Among the 150 passengers were four members of the Gough Island Expedition of 2005 and President Ron Burn of our society. [More details to be provided after the cruise to Tristan.]
Castella Award becomes Skavaril Award
Now we must backtrack and tell the story of how the name of our service award was changed from the Castella Award to the Skavaril Award. In brief, it was Russ Skavaril who came up with the idea to create an award for distinguished service to our society. It happened at the World Columbian Stamp Exposition at Chicago in 1992 when I showed Russ a reproduction of Napoleonic medal that depicts a scene on St. Helena on one side. I'd bought the medal at a shop at the Invalides in Paris, with the idea that the society might use it in some way. As I wrote in my tribute to my friend in 2001, "In three heartbeats Russ put it all together in his mind, or nearly all of it. 'Let's create an award…for distinguished service to the society and we'll give this medal to the recipient,' he said." A week or so later he christened it "The Castella Award", later proposed to be renamed to "The Skavaril Award".
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The membership strongly supported the notion that we name the award after Dr. Skavaril. Several members pointed out that no one had done as much for our society. The Board approved. And that is how our service award came to be known as the Dr. Russell V. Skavaril Award for Outstanding Service to the St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society.
John Havill was the first recipient of the Skavaril Award (2001), followed by Robert Richardson (2003), James Kraemer (2004), Dr. Gale J. Raymond (2005) and Dr. Peter P. McCann (2006).
In 2004 and 2005, Guy Marriott, an expert in the area of American and British copyright law, advised our Board on various copyright issues and helped decipher information provided by the U.S. Copyright Office. The primary finding was this: an author retains copyright if he or she is not paid for a work and if the author does not transfer the copyright in writing. The situation appears to be the same in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Thus we determined that the copyrights of all articles published in our quarterly and in our anthologies—and the copyrights of all monographs published by our society, including our St. Helena quincentenary monograph—remain with the authors. None of the articles, monograph or other works published by our society can be reproduced in print or in electronic form without permission of the author(s) or the legal heir(s) of the deceased author(s).
This is very important point as it protects our authors and society should the society cease to exist. It is often assumed that the owner of a publication owns the copyright of whatever is printed in their publication. That is true only if the author is paid for the work or if the author transfers the copyright in writing, which is not the case in our society. Our authors retain copyright. The point is worth repeating for protection of our authors and our society: No one can reproduce anything we publish without the permission of the copyright holder(s).
Updating the Constitution and Bylaws
In 2005 Vice President Ted Cookson contacted the Board and pointed out that our Constitution and Bylaws needed to be reviewed and updated. New entities had been created (The Presidents Circle and the society website) and other aspects of our society needed to be better addressed. President Ron Burn appointed Ted Chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Review Committee.
Society Library Closed
We disposed of the society library in 2005. Two years before, Ernest Roberts, who had served as librarian for many years, asked to be relieved of the responsibility. No one stepped forward when we asked for a volunteer to replace him. I advised Ernie to post the library to me and called myself "The Custodian of the Library."
When the boxes of musty books and periodicals arrived, I remembered what Russ Skavaril had said about the library when I was president. "We should get rid of it," Russ said. "Sell what we can and donate the rest. It's not used very often, it costs a lot of money to move it around from librarian to librarian, and most of it is available through the American Philatelic Research library or regular libraries.
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"Makes sense to me," I said to myself, as I poked through the boxes that Ernie had sent to me. With the approval of the majority of the Board, I did what Russ suggested ten years ago. I sold part of it (for a grand total of $275), donated part of it and threw away the smelliest items. The remains will be given away at our table at Washington 2006.
The 30th Anniversary Anthology
In the summer of 2004, we decided to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the founding of our society with the publication of a book in 2006. Although our society was not formally established until 1977, we consider 1976 to be the year that our organization began, as our early members initiated society-like activities that year.
Everett Parker and I estimated that we would need $4000 to print 200 copies of the book. The Board approved $1000 in support from society funds. In October of 2004 we began a campaign to raise $3000 within the membership, expecting a tough slog to the finish line. We met our goal by the summer of 2005. However, it had become clear that we would probably need at least $5000 ($4000 from members; $1000 from society funds) to produce a quality book (with acid-free paper and some color) in a relatively short time frame (which would require the paid services of a good copy editor).
In October of 2005, with the press of Everett’s duties as publications editor he felt he was unable to act as co-editor for the 30th Anniversary Anthology so I asked Peter McCann to assist me in that role. Peter secured several of the articles from various members of the Society, edited them and helped me in the general design of the book. He also did extensive proof reading and corrections of text to ensure a clean final edition. Peter also helped extensively to raise the last funds needed to publish the final volume on schedule.
Raising $5000 within a small, philatelic society is very difficult. By October of 2005 we'd almost met our new goal of $4000 in member donations. By April of 2006-when we hope to go to
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the printer—we expect to exceed the $4000 target. The generosity of our membership has been extraordinary. Two members donated more than $500 each. One donated $400. Another donated $360, another $250. Many sent checks for $100 or $50. Others supported the project with an early purchase of the book. The outpouring of donations has humbled those of us in charge of the project and made us re-double our efforts. A list of the donors and the amounts donated appear in the 30th Anniversary Anthology.
We had hoped to include a cumulative index for the past 30 years of our quarterly and an index for the anthology. Unfortunately, we could not locate a person who could do this for a price that we could afford. In lieu of an index for the anthology, we are providing a table of contents for each of the 40 issues of the South Atlantic Chronicle published between January 1996 and October 2005.
Dr. Peter McCann, Chairman of our Editorial Review Board, has provided important guidance to the 30th Anniversary Anthology in multiple ways. He has a wealth of experience in philately, philatelic publications, the running of philatelic organizations and the history of our society. Dr. McCann shared his thoughts and experience with us on many occasions during the development of the anthology. His guidance is very much appreciated.
the update 2006-2015 you can read in our new 40th anniversary book
see Society Publications
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