The Rhode Island Philatelic Society
The oldest philatelic society in the United States
Established February 2, 1885
HISTORY of the SOCIETY
The Rhode Island Philatelic Society saw its beginnings in Providence, emerging in 1882 when a postal employee and a bank employee realized that they had a common interest. From this knowledge evolved a gathering of ten people who agreed to form a philatelic society. A letter to that effect was mailed to the original ten charter members for a meeting held on January 20, 1885 at the home of Edward B. Hanes on Broadway Street in the city of Providence. Present with Mr. Hanes were:
Alfred Dawson, RIPS #1
John B. Calder, RIPS #2
Mr. Hanes, RIPS #3
George H. Wood, RIPS #4
Charles F. Rothfuchs, RIPS #5
Irving W. Cox, RIPS #6
Charles G. Calder, RIPS #7
Martin S. Fanning, RIPS #8
Jeremiah F. Browning, RIPS #9
William G. Neghtingale, RIPS #10
Mr. Calder and Mr Dawson died in the first decade of the twentieth century. Others became honorary members at a ceremony held on September 20, 1921. At the January 20th, 1885 gathering, the charter members affixed their names to an agreement which established the official status of the group, which had met informally since 1882, as a philatelic society.
The first regularly scheduled meeting of the new organization was held on Monday, February 2, 1885 at the residence of Mr. Hanes
For the first quarter century, the group met once a month on Mondays in private homes. When the group grew too large to be accommodated in private quarters, the society shifted its meetings to the Providence Chess Club in the old Industrial Trust Building, then to the Narragansett Hotel, followed by moves to the Old Stone Bank on South Main Street, the College of Pharmacy on Benefit Street, the Odd Fellows Home, 100 Elmwood Avenue, and the All Saints Memorial Church Hall, 674 Westminster Street, all in Providence; the Meshanticut Park Baptist Church Hall, 180 Oaklawn Ave. Cranston, St. David's on the Hill Episcopal Church also in Cranston, then in 2013 to All Saints Church, 111 Greenwich Avenue in Warwick, RI and our current location since 2017 at Pilgrim Lutheran Church also in Warwick, RI.
Increased interest and support warranted meeting more frequently and on a different day. The society established a new schedule of holding regular meetings on the third Tuesday of the month. In 1935, a second informal meeting was scheduled for the first Tuesday of the month with the exception of July, August, and September. Today, the society meets regularly on the first Saturday of each month except for January and July. Please check our Calendar of Events page for the latest schedule.
Ten years after the society was organized, the group consisted of seventy-five members. In 1985 the group numbered 250 active members. Today, the club continues its long tradition with over 70 active members.