Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frederick John Melville -British philatelist

Frederick John Melville (1882–1940) was a British philatelist, prolific philatelic author and founder of The Junior Philatelic Society. He was also a founder of the Philatelic Literature Society. Melville is a member of the American Philatelic Society's Hall of Fame and was an original signatory to The Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1921.

Melville was born in Edinburgh to Thomas J. Melville and Annie Melville but moved to London at the age of two when his father, who was a journalist, became the House of Commons correspondent for The Scotsman.Fred had brothers Cecil Balfour, Thomas B. and William. He also had sisters Kate and Helen (later Mrs Helen P. Terry).

Fred was educated at Westminster School where he was the instigator of a school magazine The United Westminster School Field Club Magazine.He was always known just as Fred or Freddie.

As a young boy of just 11 he took his father to an exhibition of stamps organised by the Philatelic Society, London, now The Royal Philatelic Society London.At that exhibition he met Edward Denny Bacon who handed him a copy of the Society’s journal the The London Philatelist.

In 1899 he applied for membership of the Society, but was rejected as he was under 18 years of age.[verification needed] As a result, he formed The Junior Philatelic Society (now The National Philatelic Society) that same year. The society was a huge success, capitalising on pent-up demand for a philatelic society that anyone could join and the new society soon had to seek a larger meeting place. In 1906 Melville formed a Manchester branch of the society. Melville was President of the society from the start until his death and also edited the society's journal The Stamp Lover.

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