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The History of the CCS up to 1986


This issue being the 25th since the re-launch, it seems to me time that we reviewed its progress so far.

The CCSU was formed in 1975. It was the result of correspondence between an Australian, Mary Lambe, and an American, John Mahoney, that had started some five years earlier.

In late 1975 an "Introductory Issue" of Cook's Log was produced. It consisted of 8 pages, and contained welcoming articles from the President, the Editor and a philatelic journalist. Volume 1 number 1 of Cook's Log was issued in January 1976.

The officers at that time were: Mary Lambe (12) as President, Ralph Swap (23) as Vice-President, Richard Miller (16) as Secretary-Treasurer, John Mahoney (14) as Editor, and Ardell Shirey (22) and S.W. Fields (7) as Directors.

Altogether 26 members were listed in the Introductory Issue: 18 from the USA, 5 from Australia, 2 from Canada and 1 from the UK. Of these people it is good to report that half are still members.

Everything appeared to being going well during the Unit's first few years. An issue of Cook's Log came out every quarter: 8 pages full of articles, details of new issues, checklists, etc.

The warning signs were there, but few noticed: the first two directors failed to renew their 1977 membership and were not replaced; the first president resigned from her position and was not replaced; more than once appeals were made for more articles. Finally, the last issue of Cook's Log for 1978 failed to appear.

In April, 1979 the Secretary-Treasurer wrote to all members to say that the editor was too busy at work to carry on publishing. A volunteer from the remaining members was requested to step forward to continue the good work. I know that at least one person offered their services, but nothing further was heard.

I February, 1980 I wrote to 11 people in the UK (members and others) to see if there was support for a re-launch of the Unit from the UK. Seven people replied, of whom 3 volunteered to be an officer (fortunately for different posts).

So from such tentative steps the Unit came alive again (with support from the ATA), and produced its first issue of Cook's Log at the end of the same year.

At this time the officers were: Kieran McGovern (161) as President, David Seymour (61) as Secretary, Bernard Atkinson (84) as Treasurer, and myself (33) as Editor. And so it has remained, with the sole exception that Bernard resigned his position at the end of 1981 and was succeeded by Andrew Bardell (144).

Cook's Log remained at its previous size of 8 pages. But after a year it rose to 10 pages and then 12 as more and more articles arrived for publication. In 1984 it hit a peak of 28 pages in one issue!

The original dues of $4.00 (surface mail), which had not changed since the first issue, was converted into £3.00 (air mail). In 1981 Herbert Keogh (77) volunteered to collect the dues in the US, and these were set at $7.50. Currency fluctuations throughout the world have meant that only the British and the American members have managed to enjoy an unchanged subscription rate every year.

Membership itself grew from the original 26 in 1975 to about 100 at the end of 1978 to 211 at the beginning of 1982. It has remained fairly steady at this level, being 207 at the beginning of 1984 and 228 at the beginning of this year.

At the time of writing 5 meetings of the Unit have been held throughout the world. The first was on 5th June 1976 at Interphil, Philadelphia. It was a joint meeting with the Ships on Stamps Unit of the ATA. The second meeting was held on 22nd May, 1982 at Pipex '82, Anchorage, Alaska. Our third was at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich on the weekend of 22/23 October, 1983. The fourth was at Ausipex, Melbourne spread over three days: 21/23 September, 1984. And last year there was a meeting at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Marton on 1st/2nd June.

We have held almost as many postal auctions. The first was published in the last issue for 1977 of Cook's Log, when 40 lots were offered. Only 4 lots were unsold, the remaining ones realising $118.25. The second auction was bigger. Published in the third issue of 1983, 124 lots were listed. Apart from the 20 unsold lots the others went for £391.45. At about half this size the third auction of 70 lots went for £166.75 (9 unsold). It appeared in the third issue of 1984. And now we are in the middle of our fourth auction!

There have been three quizzes: one in 1981, one in 1982 and one in 1983. The prizes were magnificent but the number of members taking part was very low.

I do not know who printed the early issues of Cook's Log, but in 1980 and 1981 they were produced through the good services of Ken Hermon (130). The 1982 issues were run off at a local school whose headmaster was a member of my local philatelic society. Since 1983 I have been able to get superb quality from a local printer, who has never complained even when the number of pages went erratic.

The address labels on the wrappers are produced by Ruth Burkholder (185). It may seem silly to have a Canadian send sticky labels to England, but my writing arm is most grateful.

Throughout the history of the Unit there have been many interesting items published in the Log, and it would be wrong to highlight one person's contribution over another.

Finally, I must mention the Bylaws of the Unit. When the new officers took over in 1980 it took them a year to discover that the Unit did have a set of rules that governed it. They were then published for the first time in the Log together with a set of changes to bring them into line with the way the relaunched Unit was actually being run. The Bylaws are reprinted in this issue to remind you of what you have joined.

Ian Boreham

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 471, volume 9, number 4 (1986).

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