Collection ID: BC 256

Collection context


Peltz, William Law Learned
William Law Learned Peltz (1882-1961) was an avid collector of Albany memorabilia and a philatelist. He had a lifelong interest in postage stamps and postal history and was a founding member of the Fort Orange Stamp Club in 1926. His stamps document postal history from the pre-stamp through stamp periods. This collection includes correspondence, scrapbooks, and stamps.
7.92 linear feet and 7 boxes


Scope and Content:

The William Law Learned Peltz Collection of Postal History, spans from 1702-1954, with the bulk of the collection covering from 1790-1890. The collection consists of three series: Miscellaneous Items, The Albany Postal History Collection, and Scrapbooks.

The correspondence encompasses manuscript letters, stamped and stampless covers, postal cards, corner cards, circulars, hand stamps and machine cancellations. Letters and envelopes are mounted within these volumes in a variety of ways, including corner clips, glue, and staples, often with Peltz's penciled annotations.

During a visit to the Peltz family in 1963, Norman S. Rice, then curator at AIHA, examined the Peltz Collection and arranged for its transfer to the Institute. In 1967, three honorary curators, Kenneth de Lisle, Robert Gallup and Donald Curran, were assigned to work on the Peltz Collection.

This trio’s familiarity with the Peltz Collection predates its acquisition by the Institute; all three were Peltz’s fellow members of the Fort Orange Stamp Club. During the late 1950’s, Peltz arranged for de Lisle and Gallup to refine organization and description of the Peltz Collection regarding the Pre-Stamp and Stamp periods.

Following Rice’s appointment as Director of the Albany Institute in 1967, Gallup and de Lisle were authorized to reorganize, and at least partially, reformat the entire Peltz Collection. Duplicate items were sold to fund the project. Volumes of the stampless period, organized by de Lisle, are marked by his distinctive handwriting, while Gallup’s contributions are generally typed.

During the 1967 reorganization of the Peltz Collection additional material was added. Supplementary materials include photostats of material from other collections such as the New York State Library and the New York State Historical Association, print reproductions, illustrations, typed transcriptions of letters, charts, and descriptive text written by Gallup and de Lisle.

The additional fourteen binders, or scrapbooks, are arranged chronologically with attention to specific stamp issues. These volumes have not been organized, arranged, or described other than during Peltz’s early attempts at collocation. During interviews with Ken de Lisle, it was determined that these binders functioned as a reference collection, from which material was drawn, for the fifteen volumes of series II.

The Peltz Collection bears witness to several New York State Capital Region philatelic "finds." These discoveries of large groups of correspondence were made primarily by members of the Fort Orange Stamp Club. Mr. Peltz, in turn, built his collection through purchases from these finds. There are many unique and noteworthy items in this collection.

Biographical / Historical:

William Law Learned Peltz was born in May 1882, in Albany, New York, to John DeWitt (1853-1904) and Mary Marvin Learned Peltz (1856-1888). He graduated from the Albany Academy, Yale, and the Albany Law School. A practicing attorney and member of the Albany Bar, Peltz served as both president and chairman of the board of the Mechanics & Farmers Savings Bank.

Peltz married Kathryn Hun (1880-1978) and together they had two children: Caroline Peltz Schultz (1908-2007) and William Learned Peltz (1909-2003). He was an avid collector of Albany memorabilia and a philatelist, and was a founding member of the Fort Orange Stamp Club in 1926 Peltz died in Selkirk, Albany County, New York on March 26, 1961, and was buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York.



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Albany Institute of History & Art without any additional restrictions.


The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the Albany Institute of History & Art Library will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Archivist/Librarian.

125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12210, United States