David Zubatsky Passes

David Samuel Zubatsky, 1939-2022

David Zubatsky lost a battle with cancer and died October 26, 2002 at age 83. He was member 2078 (for over 60 years) and life member 360 of the American First Day Cover Society. He was a prolific collector, researcher, author, and bibliographer in the field of first day covers.

David served AFDCS as regional vice president in the 1970s and on the board of directors 2001-2003. In his early years with the society he chaired the Information Bureau, later renamed the Research & Information Bureau, and at one time was listed in the masthead as Bibliographer. He chaired or served on several committees including the Ward Award, Nominations, Expertising, and Translation.

He suggested that AFDCS present an award annually for the best article on first day covers in the philatelic press, and to name it in honor of Philip H. Ward, Jr., the pioneer FDC servicer and dealer. David received the award himself in 2011, 2013, and 2018. In 2000, he was honored with the Society’s Distinguished Service Award. David also suggested that a research/classic award for exhibitors be sponsored by AFDCS, named the Lawrence S. Fisher Award, to recognize an early collector of classic US FDCs.

David held advanced degrees in library science and was a librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He eventually joined Millersville University near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he became Director of the Ganser Library. His library background enabled him to utilize resources such as newspaper archives and Ancestry.com to ferret out details of cachet makers. He authored the Photo Cachet Catalog of Albert E. Gorham in 1974, later updated in the pages of First Days. His first day ceremony program collection served as the basis for Mellone’s Specialized Catalogue of First Day Ceremony Programs & Events.

In the society’s journal, he wrote profiles of many cachet makers including Henry Diamant, Lewis Haskell, Jr., Frank Ulrich, Sandra Haimerl, Neal Griffith, Abram Bower, Norbert Waldau, and James MacAdam among others. He contributed many article series on earliest known uses, selection of first day cities, the historical significance of first day dates, the disposition of famous FDC collections, prices realized, and bibliographies of articles on United States as well as foreign first day covers.

In addition to the Gorham catalog David authored First Men on the Moon with Victor Tan, the International Bibliography of First Day Cover Literature, and edited and co-authored Moon Landing with Monte Eiserman et al. Outside of the hobby Zubatsky also published many articles and books on bibliography and genealogy.

David Zubatsky was also a mentor to many on first day cover collecting. He was a generous contributor to the American Philatelic Research Library and its AFDCS archive. He was survived by his wife Marie.

—Alan Warren

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