Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hiram E. Deats, Philatelic Bibliophile

Hiram E. Deats (1870-1963) amassed one of the largest philatelic libraries in the world in the late 19th century and early 20th century. I recently acquired a March 20, 1900 thank you note from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP)sent to  Deats. The thank you note is good example of how a single piece of ephemera can have or lead to multiple connections. I'm also a contributor to the Philatelic Literature & Research blog of the American Philatelic Research Library, and I wrote an earlier post on that blog about Deats slanted toward his philatelic accomplishments. The emphasis here is on his library contributions. When the new building for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was completed in 1895, the American Philatelic Association (now the American Philatelic Society) entered into an arrangement for CLP to house the Association's philatelic library. A gift to CLP from Mr. Deats in behalf of the American Philatelic Association was the reason for the thank you note. The thank you note was signed by William Richard Watson, Assistant Librarian for CLP. Watson was one of the original staff members for CLP. Deats was the first president of the Flemington (NJ) Library Association, a predecessor to the Flemington Free Public Library. He donated the land for the first Flemington Free Public Library building. The Hiram E. Deats Reference Library, a genealogical library, in Doric House in Flemington, NJ is named for him. Deats was an active member of the New Jersey Society of the Order of the Patriots and Founders and accumulated many records for that organization. Those records are now housed in the Rutgers University Libraries. When Deats disposed of his philatelic library in 1952 a large part of it went to the Free Library of Philadelphia. It is interesting to note that outside of his philatelic, library, and civic pursuits Deats was a farmer.

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