The Collectors Club of Chicago Philatelic Library

The Library Origins

The Collectors Club of Chicago (CCC) is home to the largest, most comprehensive philatelic library in the Midwest. The library is housed on three of the four levels of the ‘Cabeen House’, home of the CCC. The scope of material is worldwide. Books and pamphlets number several thousand. Journals, periodicals and auction catalogs account for another 30,000 items.

In addition to books and philatelic journals, the library maintains CDs and DVDs, Auction Catalogs with Prices Realized (where available), Stamp Show Catalogs and Palmares Reports, United States 1860s-1930s Post Office Yearbooks and Publications, photocopy records of advanced collections, the extensive Cabeen Correspondence, the Dr. Harvey Karlen Research Materials, and more.

The library’s literature collection began in 1967, when the Club House was bequeathed to the CCC by the late Mr. and Mrs. Richard McPherren Cabeen. Many gifts and acquisitions have been added to the collection throughout the years. During the early 1980s, the brothers James V. and J. Richard Rasdale, of the Rasdale Stamp Company (Chicago), presented to the CCC a substantial important library to add to our growing philatelic literature collection.

Through the efforts of previous and current CCC Librarians Harvey Karlen, Les Winick, George Fabian, and Ed Waterous, the library has evolved into a comprehensive and important tool for philatelic research.

Col. Robert H. Pratt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, enjoyed the use of the library, and following his death, his estate donated an impressive comprehensive holding. In addition, the estate bequeathed funds for the establishment of an annual CCC award for the best article or book related to Newfoundland philately.

Many of our members, past and present, have provided additional materials for the library, the most recent donations being made by Dr. Reuben A. Ramkissoon, and the Raymond J. Vogel Philatelic Literature Estate. We continue to acquire philatelic literature, and we solicit our members and other friends for further such donations.

The Library Philatelic Literature Collection

Housed in the library are philatelic handbooks, catalogs, specialist society journals and other periodicals on the 3rd and 4th levels. In addition, runs of worldwide philatelic public auction catalogs are maintained on the 1st level. The 3rd level Main Reading Room contains United States handbooks, popular reference catalogs, and a section containing CCC publications and those of our members. Current public auction catalogs and philatelic periodicals also are available in the Main Reading Room.

Just off the northwest corner of the 3rd level main reading room is the Library Annex room, which contains a comprehensive grouping of general reference books on numerous philatelic topics, to include Cinderellas, Space and Aviation, Maritime Mails, basics for collecting and exhibiting, stamp fiction, postcards, and much more. The philatelic literature section for the General Foreign handbooks is also housed in the Library Annex room, and is filed alphabetically, by country.

Rare books are kept in the 3rd level CCC’s President’s Office and Boardroom. The ‘P’ through ‘Z’ specialist societies and other clubs periodicals are located in the 3rd level’s northeast corner room, adjacent to the CCC Boardroom.

On the 4th level, specialist society’s and other club’s periodicals in the ‘A’ through ‘O’ categories are filed alphabetically on double-depth shelving in the southeast room. This section includes bound runs of many specialized journals, to include the Aero Field (Great Britain) and The Airpost Journal (USA), and similar publications.

The northwest corner room contains worldwide official philatelic exhibition handbooks, and complete runs of Stamps Magazine, Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, The American Philatelist, USPOD annuals, and other publications. At the southwest corner of the 4th level is the Foreign Language Reading Room containing a substantial collection of foreign-language philatelic handbooks, catalogs, and periodicals, each filed by individual language grouping. An adjacent area off of the southwest room contains runs of older general reference catalogs, including those of the Scott Publishing Co. and Stanley Gibbons Ltd.

The 1st level is devoted to the comprehensive collections of worldwide public auction catalogs, many being complete runs for the auction house. The south central room contains the foreign language auction catalogs, while the southwest room and its annex room contain English language auction catalogs. Arrangement is alphabetical by auction house.

Library Services

The Philatelic Library is maintained not only for the use of CCC members, but also is available for anyone in the philatelic community demonstrating a need to conduct philatelic research requiring philatelic literature.

CCC members may use the library on the day of the monthly general meetings, conducted the second Thursday of each month. Should there a need to access the library outside of the meeting day, the Librarian is contacted to arrange a mutually-agreeable date and time for access. These arrangements also apply to non-members who wish to conduct philatelic research using our library.

A current CCC member will accompany any non-member studying at the library for the duration of the latter’s stay. Only CCC members may check books out for use outside the Club. The CCC Library does not participate in the United States inter-library loan service systems.

Two of the most useful tools in the CCC library are the computer system and the photocopier, both of which are available for use by all members. The copier may be used to produce images from the handbooks, journals, resident in the CCC library.