ESPHS Club Topper
Previous ClubNext ClubClose This Window

Meeting Information

The Empire State Postal History Society meets biannually at various locations.


George McGowan
PO Box 482
East Schodack, NY 12063-0482

Phone: 518-479-4396

Membership & Dues

Dues are $20. The group has about 145 members. Download an application in PDF.

Journal & Bulletin

The Empire State Postal History Society publishes EXCELSIOR!, its biannual journal, and the quarterly Bulletin


A 100-lot members’ auction in each issue of the Bulletin is one of the most popular services we provide. Items are geared not only to New York State postal history, but also includes items from other collecting areas.


The ESPHS has an excellent awards program. Competitive exhibits open to the public are encouraged to make use of our awards. Silver trophies and certificates of merit are made available to exhibition committees on request. Our only restriction is that they be won by exhibits of New York State postal history.

Our Officers

David Przepiora, President | Keith Bantz, Vice President
George McGowan, Secretary | George Dekornfeld, Treasurer

Our History

The Empire State Postal History Society was formed in 1967. At that time, a group of cover collectors who had been exchanging postal history information in an informal manner decided their interests would be furthered by an organized Society. By 1968, the membership had grown to more than 50 men and women, residing in upstate New York, but including some members from the metropolitan New York City area and a few from out-of-state.

In 1969, we drew up and duly approved our Constitution and Bylaws which formally set forth our purpose … to advance the knowledge of the postal history of the State of New York by means of education and historical research; to acquire and disseminate through publication, exhibition or otherwise information relative to the organization and development of post offices and postal systems in the State of New York.

In 1970, we published our first book Federal Post Offices of New York State 1792–1969, a monumental work by the late Lee S. DeGraff, which led to similar works by other authors and publishers. Since then we have published seven more books or pamphlets in an ongoing program which has more scheduled, all valuable handbooks in our chosen field.

Gradually we have established the present pattern of two general meetings annually, with regional gatherings at irregular intervals.

Our research and publication includes, but is not limited to, postal markings and rates; railroad and steamboat history as it relates to the mails; New York State locals and independent mail carriers, whether officially recognized or not; the history of the post offices and their postmasters.

Members are asked to contribute data of mutual interest for publication in the bulletin or journal. Men and women with a sincere interest in the objects of the Society are cordially invited to join. A canvass of members’ collecting interests shows a strong trend to county collecting. This is the collection of postal history, covers and related matters on a county basis.

Recognizing the need for an authoritative list of post offices, past and present, by counties, the Society began publishing such a list, extracted at little expense in time and money by one of the charter members from the microfilm record in the National Archives. To the end of 1968, some 14 counties had been published, listing date of establishment and name of first postmaster for each office, name changes and discontinuance or transfer dates up to about 1960

In addition, the Society compiled and published a list of the Rural Free Delivery (RFD) markings of the State and a listing of the known flag cancels.

Another pioneering project was the listing of New York State post offices known to have used manuscript or handwritten town identifications during the stampless period- generally recognized to have ended with the date of compulsory prepayment in stamps, January 1, 1856.

In the days when the postmaster was required to pay the cost of the marking devices out of his own pocket, many small offices did not ever have a hand-striking device for marking the town and date. Many of these tiny offices with annual revenues less than $10 to $20, were discontinued before 1856 and covers with their handwritten marking could be very scarce indeed.
A listing has already been published; members have been asked to add to it from their own collections or records. It is hoped that before long a final listing of all the recorded offices can be printed; then the fun begins, looking for the missing ones!