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Bob Lind, Published April 08 2014

Neighbors: Stamp clubs have been around a long time in Fargo

It was Jan. 4, 1938, when 18 people gathered in Fargo to form a stamp club.

Their first order of business was what to name it. Their decision was to call it the WDAY Stamp Club, because they met in the WDAY radio studios.

Among the officers elected were Herb Sherwin, a WDAY staff member, as president, and Mamie Smith as secretary.

Two papers on stamps would be given at each meeting. On this day, Cora Vachon gave one on a World War I victory stamp issued in 1919 and Harriet Knox reported on a Red Cross stamp issued in 1931.

All this information comes from a history of the club printed in 1965. It was sent to Neighbors by Sharon Ferris, Moorhead. She and her husband, Mike, have copies because Mike’s father, George Ferris, was a member of the club and attended that first meeting.

The history reports the club changed its name to the Fargo Philatelic Society in 1939 and to the Fargo-Moorhead Philatilec Society in 1950.

Club dues were $1 a year, but junior members under age 18 paid only 50 cents a year.

WDAY had a weekly stamp news broadcast in 1937, with Herb and other collectors participating.

The club awarded several life memberships, including an honorary membership to Rev. Hans Houghland, of the First Lutheran Church, Fargo, in 1952, and another honorary membership to Bradley Sveen, a polio patient, in 1951.

The club moved around a lot. Among its meeting places over the years were the Fargo YMCA, the home of Dr. R.E. Dunbar in Fargo, and the Metropolitan Savings and Loan and the First Federal Savings and Loan buildings, Fargo.

The history reports that the first adhesive postage stamp was issued by England in May 1840, and stamp collecting reportedly began that same day.

“There is no known record of when the first stamp collector came to Fargo,” the history says, “but a good guess is that it was in the earliest days of settlements. Charles M. Pollock, Fargo attorney, recalls that he was a member of a school stamp club as early as 1896.”

Well, the F-M Philatelic Society is still going. Because after all, collecting stamps is a hobby you can get stuck on.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com