Some Captive Rebels Took A Different Trip, Len Barcousky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 31, 2014.
Don't call Daniel Telep a stamp collector. Mr. Telep explained to home-schooled students gathered at North Park Baptist Church that his interest is "postal history." "I collect the entire envelope with its cancellation and, hopefully, a
letter in it," he told students gathered at the church in McCandless.
The envelope, the stamp, the post office cancellation mark and
correspondence inside provide powerful tools to bring history alive, he
Mr. Telep, 70, is the owner of Crossroads Development Group, a
Sewickley-based consulting firm that advises companies on "predictive
business growth." He also is a director of the Sewickley Valley
Historical Society and a faculty member at Grove City College. His passion since he was a boy growing up near Detroit has been collecting, displaying and selling postal memorabilia. He started collecting stamps at age 6 or 7. He was about 9 when his
father, Mike Telep, bought him an envelope stamped and mailed in
Middlesex, Mich., in 1876.
"I just thought this was a lovely piece of American history," he said
of his first postal cover. He has since collected postal items used by
businesses and individuals. Postal covers tell more complete stories
than stamps alone. "The bills and letters inside -- along with the
envelope information on the postal rate, the date of mailing and the
location -- give you a bigger bang for your buck," he said.
He meets about four times each year with home-schooled students on
their "enrichment" days, teaching them about his hobby and sharing the
history behind his collections.
In the late 1970s, he assembled a collection of letters and their
covers written by Van J. Sellers, a captured Confederate soldier, while
he was a prisoner in Western Penitentiary. That prize-winning collection
was the subject of several news stories and reports in hobbyist
magazines. It has since been sold.
Mr. Telep, a Marine Corps veteran, served in Vietnam in the 1960s.
His current interests include an award-winning assemblage of North
Vietnamese covers from the war years in Southeast Asia.
He also has been collecting items linked to Pittsburgh's postal
history. Those treasures include correspondence sent to Fort Pitt,
including a letter from George Washington, during the American
His interest in all things postal is reflected in his home office in
Sewickley Heights. There, he has re-created the counter and mailboxes
that would have been found in a rural post office.
Mr. Telep said he could name as many as 10 reasons for his interest
in collecting postal items. "The No. 1 reason is to keep in touch with
our national roots and to better understand American history," he said.
The second reason is the satisfaction of making something that is
greater than the sum of its parts. "It's the passion to collect, form
and shape something that never existed before," he said.
Mr. Telep and his wife, Catherine, are the parents of four adult
children. None has inherited their father's collection gene, but he has
hopes for his five grandchildren. "I try to send them a letter every
week," he said.
Full Text Link: Pittsburgh Post Gazette March 31, 2014