Regionalism in Philately of Yore

Our nation has become far less regional than it was forty years ago. People were born, raised and died in the South or the North East and many people never moved very far from where they were born. Today, many of us are transplants or from families that have moved. And millions moving south when they retire has also changed the regional makeup of the country, making the tradition “Southern” type or “Yankee” almost a thing of the past.

When I was very young it the stamp business, there still was a profoundly regional aspect to the hobby. There were two national philatelic societies-the APS  and the SPA which was called the Society of Philatelic Americans and had recently changed its name from the Southern Philatelic Association which it had been called before WW II. The old Southern gentlemen collectors used to come to our office, usually looking for Confederate States stamps. There was Clyde Jennings, a unusually affable bear of a man who trademark was to wear the loudest (usually bright orange) colored sports jackets that he could find. When placed on his 5′ 6″ 300 pound frame it always seemed like a basketball had bounced into our office.  And there was Southgate Leigh, from Virginia, who spoke of mint juleps like most people speak of their children, with a loving look in his eye. He was the calmest of men-no doubt the mint juleps- who only once raised his voice above a whisper. I had referred to some stamp being issued because of the Civil War. “War between the States, Son!” Southgate roared “Don’t you ever forget it”.

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