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Alfred H. Dowle

(H-1609)

by Steve Shay

Alfred Dowle joined the USCS in June 1939 as member #1609, sponsored by John Haag (#92). His address was listed as Washington, DC at the time. Al was born in Chicago in 1885. He took an early interest in the Navy and enlisted at 18 in 1903 and took boot camp training at Great Lakes. He would make the Navy his career, serving for nearly 50 years, retiring as a Lieutenant in the Supply Corps. He was a Warrant Officer during World War I.

Al was a stamp collector as well as a cover collector.

Al served the society in many capacities. He was appointed editor of the Log by President Taze Nicolson (#H-839) with his first edition being the June 1953 Log, his last edition was the June 1961 Log. The USCS banner was introduced during Al’s tenure as Editor. Al did the mailing of the Log also. He served as Vice President 1955-1958 and assumed the Presidency in September 1958 when President Joseph Frayne (#2279) resigned for health reasons. He continued to serve as President 1959-1961. He served as Director 1961-1967. Al wrote a monthly column called “Dowle’s Column” that was a regular Log feature where he shared his knowledge of ships and cancels.

He was co-editor of the revised Catalog of US Naval Postmarks along with Jim Russell when the Society took over responsibility for that publication.

He was known for encouraging beginners to the hobby. He went to all the USCS conventions during his time and many regional meetings. Al was a member of the “Flying Circus” with fellow members Ed Brennecke (#H-122), Howard Koeppen (#3820) and Frank Boylan (#H-2612) who drove city to city every weekend and holiday founding new chapters, shoring up weak areas and in general, showing the USCS flag. Al was in his 70’s by then and served as an inspiration to others. He was described as slight, trim and fastidiously appointed and was reasonable person, a warm friend and “omnivorous collector.”

Al was a member of the Admiral Byrd Chapter and later the Admiral Moffett Chapter when he moved back to Illinois where he was a resident for many years, serving as President of that Chapter for a period.

At the time of his death, USCS received 20,000 covers from Al’s collection to dispose of. His collecting notes and card files went to USCS member Jim Russell. A stamp dealer disposed of his stamp collection. USCS member Jim Klinger suggested that Al’s books be set up so that others could borrow them and the Alfred H. Dowle Memorial Library was set up, administered by H.C. Koeppen.

Al was elected to the USCS Hall of Fame in 1995.

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