THE HISTORY OF THE
SOCIETY FOR CZECHOSLOVAK PHILATELY
It was over coffee at a New York city cafe that the idea of organizing a philatelic group dedicated to the study and collecting of philatelic material of Czechoslovakia was first raised. Joe Lowey and Joe Stein, long time friends and ardent collectors of Czechoslovakia philatelic material, agreed that it was time to organize a society dedicated to the collection of Czechoslovak stamps and philatelic materials. The year was 1939. That year began with German-incited political instability in Czechoslovakia; before it was over the western part of the country has been occupied by German troops and a puppet fascist state established in the Eastern half. It was a time of concern for those who valued the democratic institutions that had developed in an independent Czechoslovakia. Philately has always been a window on the history and culture of peoples and their states. 1939 was a time when even philately needed preserving.T
he group, originally named the Czechoslovak Philatelic Society
, started small, but grew quickly. Collectors from many parts of the United States joined and soon, thereafter, philatelists from other countries also began to join. (The SCP currently has members 35 states and 17 other countries
). It quickly became obvious that a journal would be needed to give the geographically scattered membership a way to stay in touch and to share information on their shared hobby. The first issue of the Czechoslovak Specialist
was published in May 1939, had only 4 pages, and contained not much more than news about the new organization. The journal quickly grew in both size and sophistication. It has become, over the years, a repository of information on and about Czechoslovak philately.
The Society has seen periods of prosperity and times of difficulties. Like any society made up of people, it has had its “times of trouble,” periods when strong wills did not find the grace to compromise. It was after one such period that the organization changed its name to Society for Czechoslovak Philately (SCP), modified its constitution and by-laws to encourage active participation of more of its members, and limited the number of terms any one individual could head the organization. These changes were effective and the organization has grown and prospered as a consequence.
Almost from the very first year the Society has held an annual general membership meeting connected with a major exhibit in the United States. Such meeting sites give our members an opportunity to exhibit their collections at shows where the material is understood, discuss philatelic problems with and learn from each other. These meetings also have a strong social aspect in with spouses and friends are not only included, but warmly welcomed. In 1998, in addition to the regular annual meeting, the Society held its first formal meeting outside the United States in Prague at PRAGA 98.