Brett and Mueller Receive the Smithsonian’s Philatelic Achievement Awards
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum awarded their Philatelic Achievement Award to George Brett and Barbara Mueller, long-time and prominently active members of the BIA/USSS. Thomas Alexander also received the award at the ceremony. The awards were presented May 22, 2004 at the Museum. George Brett presented his acceptance remarks via videotape (his award was accepted by Roger Brody) and Barbara Mueller attended in person. Their acceptance remarks follow.
Acceptance by George Brett
The world of philately has been my world since I was a school boy in Iowa over 80 years ago, who literally pasted row after row of 2¢ reds in a cast off booklet without benefit of hinges. Washington, D.C. was the scene of my greatest contributions to the study of the production of our postage stamps. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was my favorite haunt.There I learned to know generations of Directors, Engravers and Plate Printers.
Yet I never dreamt of such a facility as the National Postal Museum housed in this magnificent building. I remember well the opening night in the summer of 1993 and I value the years I spent on the Council of Philatelists. Yes, through the years I have received many philatelic honors but all pale in the light of the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award. But I never lost sight of the role that postage stamps have played in the conduct of the larger operation of the Postal Service. In fact, back in the thirties, I had a job with the Railway Mail Service. So I have personal experience with the role mails have played in the development of our nation. After World War II service, with the Department of the Navy, in the Canal Zone, I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and joined the U.S. Geological Survey here in Washington for the rest of my career, eventually being added to the Scroll of Honor of the Survey.I hope the Postal Service can continue to be the valued home-town representative of the federal government to all the people and that the Museum continues in its educational endeavors serving new generations of philatelic inquirers such as I once was. As a new high school graduate I hitch-hiked to Washington to visit the late great Hugh M. Southgate of the Bureau Issues Association, now the United States Stamp Society which I joined in 1930 and in which I am now the oldest living member.
Thank you, NPM, for this wonderful award.
Acceptance by Barbara Mueller
This award is especially meaningful because unlike the many others bestowed on me in over half a century, it is from my country!
It shows that, in the regard of our Postal Service and the Smithsonian Institution, philately is being accorded its proper role as a serious intellectual pursuit while creating its own distinctive enchanted world. It is an adventure where we are drawn into a universal fellowship with a universal language of stamps and their usage.
This magnificent Museum, its library and research facilities with a capable staff, helps us all appreciate the social and economic development of our country through the searching lens of postal and philatelic studies. The Postal Service is a vital 300-year-old institution that has been the backbone and fabric of business and society as we know it…and few people appreciate that as much as philatelists do.
May the Service and this Museum continue to assist collectors as they brighten their worlds with the color and drama of their little bits of paper.