Hugh M. Clark

Hugh M. Clark

From 1912, when he joined the Scott Stamp and Coin Co., until his death 44 years  later, Hugh Clark was one of philately’s most influential persons. Though he was well known among the more serious philatelists, he was not nearly as widely known as he should have been throughout the hobby—mostly because, rather than being an outgoing meet-the-people sort of person, he worked diligently behind the scenes to elevate one of the great catalog operations in the entire stamp hobby.

In 1914, he became the Scott manager when J. E. handshaw ran the firm, and in 1938 he purchased the company, selling the retail business and organizing the rest as Scott Publications. Scott Publications continued the publishing of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, first begun in 1867 by founder John Walter Scott. It should be noted, however, that his wife, Theresa, was his co-editor and her influence on catalog operations, though accomplished rather silently, was huge.

Hugh Clark met his wife-to-be, Theresa M. Scheidemantel at Scott in 1912. In 1935, they first co-edited the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, and both continued to write and edit other Scott publications for the rest of their professional careers. Under Hugh Clark’s leadership, the Scott companies carried out an extensive newspaper and radio campaign to publicize the pleasures and rewards of stamp collecting. These included sponsorship of nationally-broascast radio shows on major networks like NBC. His company actively supported stamp exhibitions, purchasing exhibit frames and lending them to local organizations. They always had the largest booths at the big international shows like TIPEX in 1936 and the great CIPEX Centenary show in 1947. Clark had sold Scott Publications in 1946 to Gordon R. Harmer, but he and his wife continued as editors and writers for the firm.

Clark was very active in dealer circles and was a very busy president of the ASDA  (1927-1933), and was an active member of the Association for Stamp Exhibitions in its organization of the U.S. international philatelic exhibitions in 1926, 1936 and 1947. He was a founding member of The Philatelic Foundation having been invited to join its first board by Alfred Lichtenstein and Theodore Steinway. In 1946, when he sold Scott Publications, he gave The Philatelic Foundation the famous reference collection formed by John N. Luff. Clark signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1947.

We are grateful to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame Committee, and their section on the APS website, for information contained in this article.