People like to collect things - match books, twine, barbed wire - even pencils. Lester C. Taylor, a professor at Sterling College, Kansas, and several of his family members and friends were interested in writing instruments of all kinds. In 1955, Taylor started writing and distributing a newsletter called "The Pencil Collector". By 1958 the group had grown to 191 persons who became the charter members of the American Pencil Collectors Society. In 1998 there are about 320 active members, including teenagers, retired people, and members from other countries.
The first of many biennial conventions was held in 1963 at Culver Stockton College, Canton, Missouri. Since then the convention, usually in July, has been at several small colleges around the U.S., with the 1993, 1995, and 1997 site at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Missouri. The conventions are an opportunity for members to display their collections of wood pencils, mechanical pencils, ball point pens and fountain pens. The public is invited to attend and see the displays. Items such as models of log cabins, windmills, and other structures made entirely of pencils are also likely to be on display. Buying, selling, and trading of individual writing instruments or whole collections occur at the convention, which usually concludes with an auction.
New members are assigned a membership number which stays with the person or immediate family member; the number is never reassigned to anyone else. It is customary but not required to have wood pencils or ball point pens printed with a member's name, complete address, and APCS membership number. These "number woods" (or pens) are traded and collected by the members. New members' names and addresses are published in the monthly newsletter and shortly thereafter other members may offer to make trades through the mail.
Persons interested in joining the APCS should write to the membership officer:
Mrs. Louise Hiltz
640 Evergreen Drive
Mountain View, WY 82939
When joining, please indicate the kind of writing instruments you are collecting, how you heard about the APCS, and a bit of personal history. Annual dues are $10.00 (US); a spouse may join for $5.00 more and becomes a voting member at the business meeting of the conventions. Members receive a list of the active members, a membership card, and a subscription to the newsletter. Articles about pens and pencils, news of local swap meets, and advertisements from members wishing to buy, sell, or trade are in each issue of the newsletter.
For further information please contact the APCS president, Bill Bean, 3351 Jeffrey Lane, Eau Claire, Wisconsin 54703 (Phone: 715-832-4301)
Thinking of Joining? Be sure to say you learned about APCS on "The Pencil Pages".