There was a Geneva Stamp Club in existence prior to World War II, of which little historic information now remains. It apparently disbanded because of the war.
The Finger Lakes Stamp Club, which came into existence in 1950 in Geneva, was formed by Wolfgang Fritzsche and nine other dedicated philatelists. It is not known if any of these 10 were members of the previous club.
Certainly the prime mover at that time, Fritzsche was never a member of the previous club. He relocated to this area following the war and was instrumental not only in founding our club, but also helped form the Germany Philatelic Society (then located in Syracuse). He was active in the Czechoslovakian Philatelic Society and the Postal Stationery Society, as well as numerous other philatelic organizations. He wrote numerous articles for the journals of these organizations, as well as for the American Philatelic Society. Several of his world-class exhibits and collections became some of the first APS slide programs. He was one of the first APS accredited judges.
Other notable charter members were dentist William S. Young, specializing in Canadian stamps; assemblyman Fred Warder, and newsman and photographer P. B. Oakley (many early photos and articles about FLSC came from the pen and camera of Oakley). One of the first members to join in 1950 was Charles Bocker, a prominent stamp dealer in Waterloo for many years, having purchased an old bank building and making excellent use of its vault.
The FLSC was founded on January 26, 1950, an auspicious date, as this was also the date that India became a republic. Another charter member, Alex Roche, was the first Secretary and sent out a Holiday Greetingscard that featured two of the stamps from the first India Republic set (Scott 227–230). (Roche was a bugler in the Marine Corps, served with the British Army during World War I andreceived the Victoria Cross, served in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and later was in the New York State Police.)
The first FLSC meeting was, of course, on January 26, and held at the Geneva Civic Center. Fritzsche was first president and Bocker was in charge of programs. Dues were $2 and meetings were once a month. At the end of 1951 FLSC was meeting in the Chamber of Commerce Building and meetings were held twice a month.
In 1953 FLSC held its first banquet, at the Oaks Corners Grange, attended by 72 collectors and family. 40 frames of exhibits, a 100-lot auction, and a color sound film were highlights of the evening. A printed cachet was prepared for all members. Cost was $1.50 per person.
In December 1954 a Topical Stamp Exhibitionwas held at the Chamber of Commerce building with judges from the Auburn Stamp Club. FLSC member Harold Legg won first prize with his Waterfalls on Stamps.Wolfgang Fritzsche won third place with U.S. Naval Postmarks.
In late 1956 the club began meeting in the YMCA Building. Older members talk of the long climb up narrow stairways to the drafty third floor meeting room. FLSC became Chapter 428 of the APS in 1958. In late 1960 FLSC began meeting in Jordan Hall of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Rent was free and the stairs were manageable.
A 10th Anniversary Exhibition was held on December 3 and 4, 1960 at the Jordan Hall site. No dealers were allowed due to this being a state building. Twenty-five exhibits filled 60 frames. An auction was held, and a banquet took place in Oaks Corners. The year 1962 saw the next exhibition take place at the Canandaigua Inn, with Canandaigua's mayor opening the show. Nineteen exhibits filled 70 frames.
A 15th Anniversary Exhibition was held in 1965 at the Farm and Home Center in Canandaigua, held jointly with the Rochester Philatelic Association (RPA). There were five dealers and 85 frames with 22 exhibits. Judges were from Verona, Ithaca, and Rochester.