This is the third president’s message I have written for this journal. I wish I could report on an eventful period but, as I believe we all know, it has been uneventful in a very eventful way. Personally, I feel somewhat like how I imagine Colonel Nicholson must have felt before Sessue Hayakawa let him out of the punishment hut.
It should come as no surprise but we had to completely reconfigure our program schedule once we closed the Club house in mid-March. Rather than getting down on ourselves and throwing up our hands in frustration, we’ve done the right thing. We have striven to bring philatelic programming to the entire philatelic community. It has not always been easy and there has been some stress along the way, but we believe we have been getting there. This has involved the dedicated commitment of a number of key individuals. We would be remiss if we did not recognize the contributions of Vice President Joan Harmer, and Programming Chairman Steve Reinhard. Obviously, we have been very fortunate with our speakers. They have adjusted admirably and with good humor as new demands were placed upon them. If you have not been able to join us on the day, please be sure to watch the videos, at your leisure, on our website.
We are also extremely appreciative of the efforts by the American Philatelic Society, the US Philatelic Classics Society and the US Stamp Society for helping us get the word out. We also asked a number of the major philatelic auction houses for help in publicizing these programs and they all, without exception, responded and sent emails or posted notices on their websites. These have included Kelleher, Schuyler Rumsey, Robert Siegel, HR Harmer and Harmer International. Every time an enterprise sends an email out there is a risk that some of the recipients will unsubscribe and we appreciate these commercial colleagues taking the risk and helping out.
Looking forward, we have been trying to anticipate both the health situation as well as the expected willingness of members and friends to join us on location at 22 East 35th. As of this day, all programs through early November have been transitioned to the internet.
This brings us to our annual Single Frame Exhibit Competition, scheduled for November 4th. The Board of Governors has decided that it would be wise to move to a virtual competition conducted on the internet and ultimately incorporated within a Zoom program on the original date. Further information will be forthcoming, but this writer believes that in addition to breaking new ground, it will be an unparalleled competition. It will be a huge joy to get all those (virtual) frames mounted.
Originally, we scheduled the Lichtenstein Award Dinner for May 20th. At an early stage in the pandemic, the dinner was then moved to October 21st. Regretfully, we have determined it would be prudent to defer this dinner to next year, May 2021. On that date, we will gather to honor two Lichtenstein award winners: John Barwis and our new winner, yet to be selected. We will be sending out information for the nomination process and we would like to remind you that any member of the Club can submit a Lichtenstein Award nomination. I urge you to participate and nominate a worthy recipient.
At this stage we do not know when we will be able to reopen the Club house. This depends not only on the situation in Manhattan and governmental mandates but on our intent to safeguard the safety of our employees, members and visitors. They are foremost in our thoughts. There will be no compromises in this regard. Again, rather than throwing our hands up in frustration, we intend to make some lemonade out of all these lemons. We will be announcing new policies and capabilities that will allow us to better serve our members. Shortly, members in the US will be able to efficiently borrow books from our Library and for members, worldwide, to obtain scans of excerpts from philatelic books and journals. Our goal is to liberate the Library from the confines of our building, bringing it to your mailbox: USPS or online.
One of the things that many of us miss most in the midst of this pandemic, is the lack of social contact with our philatelic friends. You should know that at the end of each of our Zoom programs, we open the floor up so that we can all be in the same virtual space. I encourage you to join us, turn your video on and unmute yourself. Let’s not forget what brings us together as a community: the friendship and camaraderie of those who share a common passion.
Lastly, I would like to thank the membership of this Club for showing so much support for us during this difficult period and for remaining positive in the face of so much disheartening news. You are all a wonderful group of people.