Willard Otis Wylie

Willard Otis Wylie

Willard O. Wylie was a famous writer and editor. His career began in the 1890s as  Boston editor for Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News. In 1898, I.A. Mekeel and Charles  Severn invited him to join the Mekeel’s Corporation headquarters. His first assignment, in late 1903, was to become editor of the Weekly Philatelic Era, a rival to Mekeel’s run by W.W. Jewett, which Mekeel’s had recently purchased. A few months later (March 1904) it merged with Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News, which was then the premier weekly stamp collecting publication in the United States.

When I.A. Mekeel died in 1913, the partnership of Severn-Wylie-Jewett purchased  Mekeel’s. Severn was corporate president and continued as editor of Mekeel’s. Wylie was corporate vice-president and managing editor of Mekeel’s—which involved not only editorial responsibilities, but also command of the company’s growing business of selling books and other philatelic products.

In this position, he was in charge of the selection and publication of the historic and quite important Mekeel’s Handbooks, a series of monographs on a variety of philatelic subjects. Between 1912 and 1930, about 50 handbooks were published, many reprints from serial articles in Mekeel’s. Wylie’s selection of subjects and authors made the series a great success. Among the important writers who contributed to the series were American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame members B.W.H. Poole with over a dozen publications, Fred J. Melville (4), J.M. Bartels (2), and Elliot Perry (3, including one under his pseudonym “Christopher West”). Wylie and Poole co-authored The Standard Philatelic Dictionary (1922). Poole was among the first to sign England’s Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in the 1920s.

Wylie continued as editor of Mekeel’s until September 1940 when Eveleen Severn became editor at the time the offices were moved from Boston to Portland, Maine. Wylie became Editor Emeritus of Mekeel’s.