Stanley B. Ashbrook is best remembered for his monumental two-volume work “The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857” published in 1938. It remains one of the great studies of classic United States philately. He was, and is still recognized as one of the most preeminent students and experts of United States classics stamps and postal history.
From the late 1930’s until his death in 1958, Ashbrook maintained an extensive correspondence with virtually all of the leading dealers and collectors of those times. He prepared hand written notes on index cards of both stamps and covers that had come to his attention through his correspondence with dealers and collectors, from auction catalogs, and from his own research and studies. Beginning in the 1950’s he made color photographic slides of stamps and covers that he had examined in the course of his work. Following Ashbrook’s death, the PF acquired all of this massive collection. Carefully maintained over the years, this significant body of research was only available for study at the PF’s offices.
Pictured below are the scrap books of correspondence and card files, a letter from the correspondence, and a box of color slides, and a close up of a drawer of index cards as they have been preserved by the PF for nearly 60 years.
In 2016, thanks to a generous grant from the David T. Beals III, Charitable Trust, the PF began the process of the digitization of all of these materials. In addition, the Ashbrook correspondence, wherever possible, has been scanned with optical character recognition (OCR), so as to make thousands of letters word searchable. Now completed, this massive collection has been posted on the PF’s website in support of its educational mission, and through the benefit of technology, made instantly available to all students of philately.
These materials have been produced in this on-line program in the three categories in which they were prepared by Ashbrook and maintained by the PF: the scrap books containing correspondence and clippings, color slides, and index cards. The volume of information contained in this collection is truly staggering: 43 scrap books containing over 10,000 images of letters, articles and other documents, 1,200 color slides, and 34 file drawers containing 35,000 3 x 5 index cards organized and arranged by subject. Enjoy the search!