Foundation established to support railway post office museum

RELATED TOPICS: HISTORICAL | PEOPLE | EAST | PASSENGER
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BOYCE, Va. — A group in Virginia is looking for new members to support its mission of preserving the history of railway post offices. The Railway Mail Service Library Foundation was incorporated in January and received non-profit status in May to support the Railway Mail Service Library currently housed in the former Norfolk & Western depot at Boyce.

The museum’s curator, Dr. Frank R. Scheer, tells Trains News Wire that the foundation has been established to ensure the library’s work continues long after he and others are gone. Scheer says the museum and research library tells the story of the important role railroads once played in moving the mail.

“It's difficult for people who now have little reliance upon hard-copy mail to appreciate the era when written communications linked everyone in the country,” he says.

The library’s collection dates back to the 1950s, when Bryant Alden Long, author of the book “Mail By Rail,” organized the American RPO Society Library. The books and artifacts that made up the core of the library changed hands a number of times until 1982 when it was purchased by Scheer and moved to Virginia. Since the 1980s, Scheer has added to the collection and today it includes schedules, route maps, and more.

The library foundation board had its first membership meeting in October where a board of directors was selected. The group currently has more than 30 members.

“The primary goal is to assemble a group of people who will curate the collection and support research inquiries for years to come,” Scheer says. “The objective is not building a large membership; instead, the focus is to develop an active, motivated membership.”

Another objective is to build a large, climate-controlled facility for the library on land adjacent to the Boyce depot. Besides books and paper artifacts, the secure building would also house two vintage post office trucks.

A similar non-profit foundation was also established this year to support the maintenance of the Boyce depot.

More information is available online.
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