New Education Chair Named

McIntosh To Lead AFDCS Educational Activities

Kris McIntosh is the new chair of the Education Department of the American First Day Cover Society. The retired high school social studies teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, schools has already been demonstrating FDCs as teaching aids, both online and at social studies teachers' conventions. This new position will expand upon her advocacy of covers in education.

The department also includes youth activities, audio-visual programs, and online programming. Gary Denis, the previous Education Chair, continues as chair of the Publications Committee. The AFDCS earns its not-for-profit status as a 501(c)(3) organization for its educational activities.

As Education Chair, McIntosh will have a seat on the society's Executive Committee. She was also just elected, separately, to her first term on the AFDCS Board of Directors.

McIntosh lives in a recreational vehicle, and spends the year traveling through several western states. She is a member of the Fred Sawyer North Texas Chapter of the AFDCS, and collects and exhibits the 1936 Susan B. Anthony (Sc. 784) and the 1948 Progress of Women (Sc. 959) issues.

The AFDCS’s publications include handbooks, catalogues, directories, and its award-winning journal First Days. The society also produces some FDCs, advocates for first day cover collecting and exhibiting, and is a co-sponsor of the big national stamp collecting show each summer. The Great American Stamp Show is currently scheduled for August 12-15 in the Chicago area.

Lawrence Receives Writing Award

Well-known philatelic writer Ken Lawrence has received the American First Day Cover Society's Philip H. Ward Award for excellence in writing about first day covers. His American Philatelist article, "Which Items Franked with 1913 Parcel Post Stamps Are Authentic U.S. First Day Covers?” in the August 2019 issue, was the unanimous choice of the judges for the 2019 calendar year.

The article also received the 2019 Barbara Mueller Award sponsored by the U.S. Stamp Society for the best article published that year in American Philatelist.

The first runner-up was Ralph Nafziger, for "Wisconsin Tercentenary Issue" in the May-June issue of First Days, the official journal of the AFDCS. Anthony Dewey was second runner-up, for "On the Trail of Grant and Lyon" in the March-April of First Days.

The award is named in honor of Philip H. Ward (1890-1963), the distinguished Philadelphia stamp collector, dealer and journalist who was a pioneer in the field of first day covers. The award was instituted by the AFDCS in 1964. All articles appearing in First Days are automatically considered for the award; articles in other publications may be submitted for consideration.

This is the third time Lawrence has received the Ward Award. In 1989, he was one of five authors contributing to a symposium on FDCs in The United States Specialist. He also was honored for his 1996 three-part series "First Day Covers in Earliest Usages," which also was published in American Philatelist. His monograph First Day Covers of 1918 Air Post Stamps — Or Are They? was published by the AFDCS in 2018, and is available for sale in the Marketplace/Handbooks section.

New Benefit: Member Connect

AFDCS Offers Members Free Online Collecting Interests Feature

The American First Day Cover Society is offering its members a way to find other members with similar collecting interests and to seek out wanted items.

With the new “Member Connect” benefit, members may submit their collecting interests in a secure area of the website, accessible only to other members. There is no charge for the service. Commercial ads and cachetmaker ads are not permitted in Member Connect entries. (Separate ads on the website may be purchased.)

An individual’s Member Connect entry may include any topic of general philatelic or FDC interest, or can be used to seek specific items (such as "want ZIP block on FDC for Sc. 1306"). There is a limit of 25 words per listing, and one listing per member. Members can submit changes or delete their listings at any time.

Member Connect can be found in the Members Area of the website, accessed via the “Member Login” button on the homepage. AFDCS members who do not already have access to this area can request it by sending their names and membership numbers via email to

In that same area, members can download copies of First Days, a full-color magazine published six times a year by the AFDCS. More members only content is planned for the near future.

Board Election Results


Members of the American First Day Cover Society have elected six people to its Board of Directors. The 279 ballots cast this year was much larger than usual, more than double the number in 2019.

The four candidates receiving the most votes will serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2021:

Foster Miller
Gary Denis
Mark Thompson
Kris McIntosh

Two candidates will complete the unexpired terms of Tom Peluso (two more years) and Doug Kelsey (one more year), and take office immediately:

Tamsie Goyer
Michael Lake

Three other candidates were not elected:

D.A. Lux
Ron Klimley
A. Francis Kohut

There was one write-in vote, for Eric Wile.

Miller, Denis and Thompson are incumbents and are respectively Membership Chair, Education Chair and Treasurer. McIntosh is a retired high school history teacher who splits her time in several Western states. Goyer lives in Oklahoma but flies to Southern California for meetings of the AFDCS chapter there. Lake lives in Connecticut and works for ESPN Sports; he joined the AFDCS as a junior.

Board chairman Cynthia Scott and President Lloyd de Vries thanked Elections Committee chair Otto Thamasett and committee members Neal Parr and Jack Ginsburg, all members of the Robert C. Graebner Chapter of the AFDCS, for their work in counting the ballots in this year's election, and the Nominating Committee chaired by Michael Litvak for recruiting the candidates.

Four seats on the AFDCS Board of Directors are elected each year for three-year terms, beginning Jan. 1. In addition to the 12 elected directors, the president, the editor of the official journal First Days, and the general counsel serve on the board ex officio, if not elected to the board in their own right.

The current board, plus directors who will be seated on Jan. 1, will now vote for the elected officers (president, executive vice president, first vice president, recording secretary, treasurer) and a chairman of the board, to serve one-year terms.

AFDCS directors are not compensated nor reimbursed for their travel expenses.

First Days Receives Gold

First Days, the official journal of the American First Day Cover Society, won a gold medal at the Chicagopex literature competition in November. Under the direction of late editor Al Starkweather, the magazine received golds in every literature competition in which it was entered during his six-year tenure.

Starkweather passed away one week before the competition at the age of 81.

David Lorms Named Exec. Secretary

AFDCS Taps Lorms As New Executive Secretary

The American First Day Cover Society has chosen David Lorms of Virginia as its new Executive Secretary. He is a first day cover collector with extensive professional organizational management experience.

Lorms, a veteran of the U.S. Navy's Submarine Service, has worked in management for a number of not-for-profit organizations, mostly in the health field. He began collecting first day covers while helping his daughter with a Girl Scouts project — she did not continue, but he did — and is a member of the AFDCS and its Washington, D.C.-area Robert C. Graebner Chapter, as well as the American Philatelic Society, Ebony Society for Philatelic Experiences and Reflections, Universal Ship Cancellation Society, and the American Topical Associations.

He succeeds Doug Kelsey, who served as AFDCS executive director and executive secretary for nearly 30 years before passing away this summer.

Lorms lives in Colonial Beach, Va., with his wife, where he is also a member of the county electoral board.

"I was amazed at the depth of talent and experience of the people who applied for our position, but David stood out from the field," said Lloyd A. de Vries, president of the AFDCS. "Even in the interview, he identified a number of areas the society needs to work on, and I think our future together looks bright."

De Vries thanked the Search Committee of Immediate Past President Chris Lazaroff, General Counsel Tris Fall, and First Vice President Jim Hogg for their work in making the recommendation, after the AFDCS received applications from several strong candidates.

Al Starkweather Passes

The American First Day Cover Society is saddened to announce the passing of its Editor, Albert W. Starkweather, Jr., on Saturday, November 14, 2020, after a long illness, complicated by COVID-19. He was 81.

Starkweather had a long history in philatelic editing, including Stamps magazine, Stamp Insider, The Philatelic Communicator, The Ceremonial, and Airpost Journal. He took over editorial supervision for the AFDCS in 2015.

His non-philatelic journalism career included the Hartford Courant, Thomson Newspapers (including redesigning the websites of the newspapers for Oswego, NY, Newburgh, NY and Kittanning, Pa.) and communications projects and consulting for major corporations such as Dow Corning and General Electric.

A native of northern New York State, Startkweather had lived for a number of years in the Tampa, Fla., area.

Albert Warren Starkweather, Jr., 1939-2020

Albert “Al” Starkweather, 81, died November 14, 2020 in Tampa, Florida due to complications following a fall. In 2015 he was named Editor of First Days, the bimonthly journal of the American First Day Cover Society and held that position at the time of death.

Al was the son of Elizabeth and Albert Starkweather, Sr. and was born in Brownville, N.Y., May 9, 1939. He obtained a BA in English and psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam and undertook graduate work in communications and photography at Syracuse University, and in business at the University of Connecticut.

Starkweather began his writing career with the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times. He served as executive editor for Thomson Newspapers where he restructured and redesigned several of its papers. He was project editor of CRC Press where he edited some of their technical handbooks and also worked for the Hartford Courant.

In recent years, as owner of Design on Demand, he created websites for many organizations including trade shows and art galleries. His firm offered consulting services for print and online communications. He also taught courses in fields such as computer science and journalism.

He joined the American Air Mail Society in the 1970s and learned about philatelic writing and editing from Frank Blumenthal and Perham Nahl. Al edited the APS Writers Unit’s The Philatelic Communicator from 2006 to 2010 during which time he vastly improved the use of graphics and converted the journal from black-and-white to full color. He also edited The Ceremonial, journal of the American Ceremony Program Society.

Al created the website for the Federation of New York Philatelic Societies and edited its print and online magazine Stamp Insider from 2003 until it was discontinued in 2018. He also contributed to Stamps magazine and Stamp Auction News.

Al Starkweather is survived by his brother John E. Starkweather, and daughters Lisa Starkweather and Karin Santamaria.

--Alan Warren

First Days Interim Editor Named

The American First Day Cover Society is pleased to announce it has chosen Martin Kent Miller as interim editor for its journal, First Days.

Miller will serve while Editor Al Starkweather recovers from a series of strokes, with the AFDCS paying stipends to both men while "Editor Al" mends and until the issue of Starkweather’s health is resolved.

Miller currently also edits The United States Specialist for the U.S. Stamp Society, and was former Chief Content Officer of the American Philatelic Society, which included editing its American Philatelist and Philatelic Literature Review. He is Marketing Coordinator for the American Topical Association, and recently oversaw several major projects for the Association, including the complete overhaul of its website.

Outside philately, he is president of The Image Forge, a marketing and design firm that has won more than a dozen American Graphic Design Awards. Prior to that, he held several professional positions in marketing and communications.

Miller lives in Greer, S.C., with his wife Jennifer, who is executive director of the ATA. Martin and Jennifer have three children and one grandchild who is a budding collector.

"We look forward to Al returning to editing First Days," said AFDCS President Lloyd A. de Vries, "but I feel the journal is in very good hands in the meantime."

De Vries thanked the Search Committee of Immediate Past President Chris Lazaroff, General Counsel Tris Fall, and First Vice President Jim Hogg for their work in making the recommendation, after the AFDCS received applications from several strong candidates.

The Society publishes First Days in full color six times per year. Each issue includes articles, columns and the best collection of advertisements by FDC dealers and cachetmakers found anywhere. Under Starkweather, it has received gold medals in every literature competition in which it has been entered in his six years as editor.

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