EDITH M. FAULSTICH (FISHER)
A PHILATELIC JOURNALIST AND PUBLIC COMMUNICATOR
PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE PUBLIC COMMUNICATION GRADUATE PROGRAM
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION
In Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts
Researched and Written By:
Alice Margaret Fisher
I dedicate this biographical research project to Edith M. Faulstich and Susanne A. Roschwalb. Two women communicators before their time, who despite their hardships continued to exhibit passion and total commitment to their “rose.”
My dear Nana, you pounded out the Siberian Sojourn to leave a legacy for the families of those forgotten soldiers from W.W.I. Your race against time and your model communication project will echo in my heart and the hearts of many for years to come. You are the source of my inspiration, the source of my drive and the source of my energy to succeed despite the frailties and injustices life presents.
Professor Roschwalb, you showed up in class at exactly 9:01 a.m. during your last fall at AU after being in the hospital all night with complications related to cancer (unbeknownst to our cohort, your last cohort to study under you). You graded our finals in your final weeks, made personal hand written comments to each of us. Your professional model of communication goes beyond the call of duty and stands as a legacy to me about what it means to be a true communicator despite the fragility life presents.
My mentors, you departed this world before I could fully benefit from your vast knowledge and life experiences. I am hungry to know more about what makes one a successful public communicator and about your life-long accomplishments. I am wiser from your quiet messages through example, commitment and passion. You are, and always will be with me.
Your models of communication resonate louder and longer than words ever will. You have become the wind beneath my wings. I will move forward with your examples in my heart. Some of Edith M. Faulstich’s articles and her book, The Siberian Sojourn are being compiled and reformatted. Her other works and some old photographs are also being formatted for placement on the Internet. They will be available in the near future (Author’s NOTE: Please see the other content within this blog)
In preparation for this biography, degree, and course work, I had to enlist the support and dedication of my children, Steven, Angela and Johanne. I asked for their commitment so that we could move forward together as a family. As a family, we have lost much time together and we all know what it is like to start over again and again. We all know what it is like to work very hard for the betterment of the whole family.
Thank you from the bottom of a mom’s heart. I really know what a sacrifice of hours you have made and all those missed Saturdays which have passed us by. This has been an education and a degree for all of us, and for our future.
Thanks kids–for we have truly gained more than we thought we had lost.
Thanks to Robert E. Ligon III (Buddy) for being the cheering section I needed and for driving my kids around to places so that I could have a few precious hours on the computer. Thanks for your encouragement to me personally on a daily and weekly basis and at three in the morning sometimes.
Thanks to Donald H. and Frankie A. Fisher, my parents. I am where I am because of your examples and those early childhood work ethics. I still have not forgotten all the grass we had to cut, barns we had to clean, cows we had to chase from neighbor’s gardens and the wheel-barrow loads of peas we had to shell. You often said, “Hard work never killed anyone,” and I love you for those words today.
Hard work has become my friend, helping me move forward amid this personal race against the odds and against time. I now prepare to move forward, in this race and beyond.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I: Introduction………………………………1
Statement of Purpose ……………………………………………….1
Chapter II: Faulstich Her Life and Work …………..6
Dee’s Younger Years…………………………………………………6
From Poverty to Journalism…………………………………………..8
From Journalism to Siberia ………………………………………….13
From Siberia to President………………………………………….. 22
Dee’s Commitment to a Cause………………………………………….28
Chapter III: Conclusion……………………………..31
I : Introduction
In his renowned story, The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “C’est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante. Les hommes ont oublies cette verite.” This quote is literally translated as, “It is the time you have spent for your rose that has made your rose so important. Men have forgotten this truth”(Saint-Exupery, p 87).
By completely devoting most of her available time to philately, Edith M. Faulstich successfully moved beyond the social stigma of divorce, beyond poverty, and sexism in a race against time.
Racing against time, Faulstich became the first philatelic woman journalist, first woman author about WWI’s Siberian Expedition in Russia, and the first woman president and communication manager of any philatelic organization. Faulstich implemented a dynamic multiplicity of factors to operate as a journalist, a persuasive communicator, a research expert, an editor, an author, a communication manager, and the first women president of the Postal History Society.
In the end, Faulstich raced to communicate against the ravages of time for philately, for the lives of the forgotten soldiers who were left in Siberia and finally she raced against time for her own life.
Statement of Purpose
This paper presenting Faulstich will demonstrate that through journalism and public communication she used a multiplicity of communication factors such as journalism, extensive research, profound knowledge, communication management skills and a relentless commitment to a cause, to become a successful international public communicator for philately. But above all, she passionately gave of her personal time.
Journalism history, public communication history, and scholars have yet to study and recognize the multiplicity of journalism and communication management skills Faulstich possessed.
She functioned with only a high school education and accomplished multiple professional public relation practices that preceded today’s formal training and public communication theories. Her work is significant enough to assure her a well deserved place in journalism and public communication history even though such recognition has not yet been granted.
This study is also significant because she was able to obtain journalism work. It was difficult to get journalism work in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
“Through the late 1940s, 1950s, and into the 1960s, the same kind of woman who had been welcomed at the city desk in wartime couldn’t get past the front desk. Some of the men who blocked their way merely mirrored the views of the day. Women’s place was in the home; the newsroom was no place for a lady. . . . . Newspapers rarely hired women” (Mills, 65).
There have been numerous and specific communication studies about women, women as minorities, barriers to women’s success, women’s roles, gender, discrimination, comparative intelligence studies and factors that hinder women’s professional success.
There has been a great deal of successful discussions about the pros and cons of how women are treated differently. Additionally, there have been studies about differences in professional positions, professional advancement, salary differences, glass ceilings and the positions assigned to developing female and male communicators. This study is significant because the focus is on Faulstich’s success and contributions rather than the factors that hindered her progress as a woman.
Likewise, little has been reported on what communication factors contribute to personal success as a communicator. Hence, a large void in the public communication field has developed from not recognizing Faulstich’s contributions to journalism and public communication and what facilitated her work as a philatelic communicator.
Furthermore, this study is important and significant because it will demonstrate that despite obstacles, Faulstich was successful as a journalist and public communicator.
As with any research, many expansive aspects from an original concept about what constitutes success before one’s time may emerge during the research process. Furthermore, this study recognizes the heated debates of feminist and gender issues in women’s successes, failures, and/or injustices. One can speculate that if this presentation and research is aligned with one or more minority groups, it may incite certain opposing reactions. Some theorists relate poverty, gender and activism with success or failure. This study focuses on the communication aspects relative to Edith M. Faulstich the person, and the dynamic multiplicity of communication skills that added to her success as a model journalist and public communicator.
This project is limited to the fact that there may not be any similar studies examining the multiplicity of communication skills used by Faulstich. This research is limited in that there may be relatively few, if any, successful women journalists and public communicators in similar avocations who had an impact on so many people with such far reaching communication results.
Although this study touches on philately and W.W.I., this study will not address these topical subjects in extensive detail nor will it analyze broadcast media. Future research may warrant comparative studies of other successful nontraditional public communicators who used a multiplicity of journalism and public communication skills, without formal training.
This paper consists of three chapters. Chapter one includes the introduction, statement of purpose and objectives, study significance and study limitations. Chapter two presents Edith M. Faulstich: her younger years, her journalism, her research work about the Siberian Expedition, her presidential term for the Postal History Society and her commitment to a cause. This chapter also looks at what it was about Faulstich that lent to her successfully managing public communication through her journalism skills, her research skills, her profound knowledge about postal history, her management of public communication, her strengths, her weaknesses and suggestions for further research.
Chapter three will present a conclusion culminating the high points of this study demonstrating Faulstich, with recommendations for future research.
II: Faulstich and Her Work
This chapter presents Edith M. Faulstich: her younger years, her journalism, her research work about the Siberian Expedition, her presidential years for the Postal History Society and her commitment to a cause.
Dee’s Younger Years
Edith M. Vanderpoel was born on May 22, 1907. As a child, she came “from a very upper-middle class family.” The generations before her had owned some large homes and property, as well as several saw mills on the Hudson River (Map of Kinderhoock, 1686). She had it all as a child and the family lost it all. She regained her family’s prominence and her wealth through her journalism and public communication (author’s interview, no. 1, 1995).
As a child she developed the nick name “Dee.” The development and transformation of the name came from her Swiss-German grandfather, Conrad Bollinger. When ever he tried to pronounce Edith it always came out “Edit.” It sounded like he was always saying eat it. To avoid embarrassment he began calling her Dee. Throughout her life she was known as Dee.
One occurrence appears to have become a pivotal point in Faulstich’s life. Faulstich knew she was intelligent and despite what others thought, she was not a quitter. At Park Ridge High School in 1925, Edith had enrolled in Mr. Smerber’s tenth-grade geometry class. It was not that she needed the class to graduate, but all her friends were in the class. She was a very social person, but be it known, Edith was not a flighty person by nature and always gave her best at any given task. Part way through the geometry course, Faulstich realized she and math did not mix. Never having done so before and after considerable deliberation, she asked to withdraw from the class. Mr. Smerber brought her up from her wooden desk to the front of the class and stood her up on top of the platform where his desk reigned. Before the entire class of 25 students, Mr. Smerber proclaimed that she was a quitter, a looser and that she would never amount to anything” (author’s interview, no. 1, 1995).
Despite the embarrassing incident in front of her classmates she graduated from high school in 1927. Later in her life, this incident would become the opening remarks of a speech she would make to a large philatelic audience in southern New Jersey.
Due to the death of her father, Faulstich was unable to go to college but took a secretarial course. “She married at the age of 20 and had two sons” (Deutch, 2). Her married name became Edith M. Fisher. By the early 1940s, she was a divorced woman alone with two sons to support” (author’s interview, no. 1, 1995).
Faulstich faced many personal and financial trials as a single parent. Divorce in those days caused a quite a social stigma. Also, it was a man’s world and the only professions open to women during those early years were teaching or nursing. Women were not often afforded the opportunity to attend college. Instead, they generally held menial tasks as receptionists, secretaries and stenographers.
Faulstich started out as a stenographer and it did not make her happy. But the job brought in money to feed her children. Women were not very involved with factory work (author’s interview, no. 1, 1995). Faulstich lived behind a house in a garden bungalow, daily she traveled to the city, by rail, to work as a stenographer. She earned forty dollars a week, twenty-eight dollars per month went for traveling costs into the city. She worked from seven in the morning until six at night. She had a difficult time working long hours for little pay, overcoming financial difficulties and raising two children by herself (author’s interview, no. 1, 1995).
Faulstich had a great deal of emotional resilience. Faulstich “had what they called in those days, ‘moxie'”(author’s interview, no. 1,1995). Moxie is a slang term that defines the capacity to confront obstacles and difficulties with spirit; courage and guts (American Heritage Desk Dictionary, 1981, p. 631). She had a proactive inclination to respond purposefully to existing problems or events.
Purposefully, Faulstich started stamp collecting as a hobby with her sons. In the beginning, it was a way for Faulstich and her children to do something together. It was a good way to spend some precious quality time together.
Faulstich “had a ‘yen,’ a longing, to write” and she was not a shy person (authors interview no. 1, 1995). In the beginning with her philatelic work, Faulstich wanted to know how people communicated before preprinted governmental stamps, before 1840. She then wanted to promote and increase awareness about the value and need for postal history.
Additionally, there were several intangible elements about Faulstich that were also an integral part of her work. The intangibles were her emotional passion and the personal time she invested in philately which lent to her success. She was genuinely interested in people and how postal history affected people. The human component was very important to her.
From Poverty to Journalism
As a journalist, Faulstich was able to succeed quite well as an advocate for philately in an all male work force and an all male philatelic organization.
In the mid 1940s Faulstich found her place in the news and newspapers did hire her during the 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s. She went to the Bergen Evening Record /The Record and talked to the editor. Faulstich persuaded the editor to begin printing a stamp column because of the large number of stamp collectors and stamp clubs in the local area. She presented her facts and findings and effectively convinced the editor that there was a vast interest in philately (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
Bergen County had about one-half million residents. There were numerous stamp clubs, including the Pascack Stamp Club in Park Ridge, New Jersey. There was a need to inform philatelists about the value of postal history (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
Copies of her articles from The Record show that Faulstich wrote about new stamp releases throughout the world. One particular article printed on November 10, 1949 discussed two forth coming stamps being released by the Irish Government. In her article, “Two Specials Announced by Republic of Ireland,” she discussed the release date, and how the stamp would serve to preserve the official commemoration of Ireland becoming recognized as a Republic, on Easter Monday. Faulstich also discussed Muriel Brandt, the well known artist who designed the stamp. Faulstich concluded her article by providing information about local club news for various clubs (The Record, Paul Wilder, Librarian, March 18, 1997).
In her November 5, 1949 article for The Record she wrote news about an election, “Bergen Philatelists, Inc. Elect Siccardi President,” (The Record, Paul Wilder, Librarian, March 18, 1997). On another occasion she wrote about the release of an Australian stamp recognizing the exploration work of Lord John Forrest of Bunbury, Australia. Faulstich recounts Forrest’s accomplishments as a surveyor telling about his travels, discoveries and the maps he drew of Australia (The Record, Paul Wilder, Librarian, March 18, 1997).
The Bergen column was so successful that she then persuaded the Newark Sunday News editor to create and print a stamp column. “Like ‘Topsey’, it just bloomed” (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
In 1947 Faulstich began writing on philatelic subjects regularly, an association which lasted more than two decades” (Deutch, 1973). The former The Newark Sunday News regularly ran her articles in section A. Every week the newspaper ran a “World Stamp News” column written by Faulstich (Library of Congress, The Newark Sunday News, call number: newspaper 7002). One of her articles printed in the July 2, 1967 edition discussed, “Three magnificent designs, reproducing famous British paintings…” that were issued by Great Britain on July 10, 1967.
She also elaborated on a local stamp show to be held in November 1967, and several other stamps that were forth coming. She then concluded with some interesting news. Normally all post offices are closed on the Fourth of July. But the Rome, New York post office would be open on the Fourth of July that year. The city was slated to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the ground breaking for the Erie Canal, which took place at Rome, July 4, 1817. Faulstich announced that ceremonies would include commemorative Erie Canal stamp sales and first day covers with special cancellation dates for each, the 8th U.S. Air Force Band and a congressional speaker (Library of Congress, The Newark Sunday News, call number: newspaper 7002, July 2, 1967).
She wrote until 1952 as Edith M. Fisher, this with The Newark Sunday News, and the Bergen Evening Record. She remarried in 1952, to Fred Faulstich. Hence from that time forward she was known as Edith M. Faulstich.
Moreover, her newspaper articles reflected the depth of her research skills and knowledge about many philatelic subjects. The following excerpt clearly shows salient details reflecting the depth of her philatelic knowledge and postal history.
From time immemorial the carriage of the mail and efforts toward speedy delivery have been the concern of man. Today, as we lick a manufactured gummed seal envelope, place a stamp on the upper right corner and mail the message, we are confident that barring an act of God, it will reach its destination safely and quickly and remain as private as when we sealed it. It is therefore, some-times hard to conjure up the problems our forefathers and theirs had, before there were any stamps, any gum, any envelopes-in fact before there was any organized mail delivery.
In earliest times man had to seek writing material. This was sometimes a leaf, or a stone, or the bark of a tree on which he drew pictures to convey a message. Thousands of years before Christ, clay tablets were baked and scribes, learned letter writers, were employed to inscribe the message in the clay which was baked until hard in the sun or in a kiln.
At first, there were crosses to signify the desire for safe carriage in the sight of God. Then threats began to be used. Along about the 15th and 16th centuries we find covers with hand drawn gallows signifying a dire threat, by hanging, to anyone who looted the mails or to any courier who failed to get the message to its destination, for the woods were full of footpads waiting to intercept the mail. A marking of “Cito” once, or repeated many times, indicated that great haste was required. Other words such as ‘subito,’ ‘presto’ and misspellings of ‘Cito’ are found on early mail (Faulstich, 5-6).
Postage stamp printing began in 1840 and mail delivery routes developed around the 1870’s. Before the formal carriage of mail, letter carrying was primarily accomplished by a personal carrier.
Her journalism skills were not confined solely to philately. Furthermore, she used the multiplicity of journalism and communication management skills she processed to write about many other subjects which often focused on human interest themes. The diversity of her journalism work served her well so she could network deep within the local communities.
As a journalist and communicator Faulstich used her persuasive abilities. Faulstich conducted three famous interviews. The first was with the character who played Lamont Cranston. Cranston was the “Shadow” in the original radio show. “The Shadow” was developed in 1930. The radio program ran from September 26, 1937, until December 26, 1954 (author’s interview no. 1, 1995).
The second interview was with Lauritz Melchior. Melchior was a leading German opera singer and stamp collector who granted but a few personal interviews during his lifetime (Lockhart, Kori, San Francisco Opera, 1997).
The third interview was with Jane Mansfield a famous actress from the 1940s and 1950s. In writing about her, Faulstich felt that Mansfield was a very intelligent and charming women (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
In the late 1940s and 1950s Faulstich wrote for the Westchester Life Magazine. In 1948 she wrote a whimsical article titled, “Why I Picked a Swiss Grandfather.” In 1955 she wrote, “From Our Portfolio, Elanor Gale,” a well-known ceramic sculptor who studied under the famous Winold Reiss. She also wrote about Amy Lee Jensen, author of the “Pony Express.”
Faulstich had a certain persuasive ability and she was a networker among people. “She could wiedle just about anything, without ever alienating others” (authors interview no. 1, 1995). She befriended all who came to know her. They knew her as a great people person.
As a people person, “Faulstich never posed a threat to the other men’s wives. She had an honorable sense of character, she was always a lady; never tried to make passes and she was always professional. Faulstich had a style of her own that brought her great deal of respect and honor from the community” (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
From Journalism to Siberia
Faulstich wanted to know how people communicated before stamps, especially before 1840. She first became interested in Swiss postal history and then general postal history. There was so much she could research about and communicate to others (authors interview no. 1, 1995). She was extremely prolific in her writing.
Faulstich began researching and writing about postal history because government sponsored mail and stamps had become mundane to her. She always wanted to know why and how people did such-and-such. If she did not know why, she would research or find someone who knew. She wanted to communicate what she found and was intrigued about how to communicate her findings (authors interview no. 1, 1995).
In the mid 1950s Faulstich began to perform preliminary research about Siberian mail. It had been said to her in several conversations that few soldiers carried any mail back to the states. They were told to unload everything except what was absolutely necessary. These types of comments made for a tough assignment for any person doing research about Siberia.
Faulstich began researching and managing the Siberian Campaign in 1956 or 1957 and her “Saga of the Mails,” as she called it, expanded dramatically.
Faulstich wanted to know how the severely neglected and forgotten soldiers from the Siberian Campaign during WWI communicated. She learned that the soldiers communicated about this sorrowful part of history with their personal letters. Faulstich learned that few people knew about the atrocities these soldiers had endured. The best way to find out the truth about the atrocities was to locate the letters written by the soldiers themselves. Faulstich found a need to verbally communicate her factual findings related to the Siberian Campaign and postal history.
Faulstich found, through research, there were many American soldiers left in Siberia, after the end of WWI. These soldiers were called the Siberian American Expeditionary Forces, Siberian A.E.F. Hardly anyone knew about these soldiers in Siberia or why they were there. Many men froze to death or died of other causes while in Siberia with their story untold and unrecorded in history books. Faulstich discovered Americans had not been told about these forgotten men. She wanted to communicate the real story about the soldiers.
Additionally, through her networking and her persuasive abilities, Faulstich obtained extensive supporting materials; military documents, letters, censor marks, postmarks, photos and personal diaries and letters of soldiers from WWI.
During her early research she learned many of the soldiers were still alive and dispersed all over the United States. She began by trying to compile a list of the survivors. Faulstich contacted an entire Army one by one. She began writing personal letters and visited the soldiers in person, to gain more knowledge about the campaign and to see if she could find any postal covers. Her research turned out to be a project that required a great deal of organization and thought. Hence her research became a very complex and a very involved endeavor that took up a great deal of her time.
In digging beneath the surface, Faulstich found that the mail from Siberia was considered scarce. The mail to Siberia was often overlooked by stamp collectors. She was told it would be very difficult to find any surviving mail. She said that many collectors researching for material overlooked the importance of associated material, or some unrecognized element that could be of use to postal-history research.
Faulstich saved all that she found regarding Siberia. She meticulously managed and kept all of her research work in cream colored file cabinets in her own home, lining the walls an entire room. Her research lasted fifteen years, resulting in many articles and a two-volume book about the soldiers in Siberia.
Her work and files are archived at Stanford University. Stanford University is noted for its extensive holdings related to Russian materials and research. Hoover Institute’s archivist, Carol Lendeham, said “most of the material I looked through were newspapers, newspaper clippings, and magazine issues in boxes nine and ten of Faulstich’s papers. They were all relating to the A.E.F., Russian Railway Service Corps, YMCA, etc. experiences in Siberia, including materials from groups made of up of veterans of those organizations” (Stanford University, Carol Leadenham,
leadenham@HOOVER. STANFORD.EDU, February 28, 1997).
Faulstich is listed in the 1996 Stanford University’s Hoover Institution Archive Holdings on the Soviet Union.
Her name is indexed on page 18, column two. Faulstich’s holdings are noted in the following manner.
Faulstich, Edith M., d. 1972, collector.
27 ms. Boxes, 18 envelopes, 7 oversize boxes.
Summary: Diaries, letters, and reminiscences of members of the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia, Reports, notes, printed matter, and photographs, relating to American military activities in Siberia during the
Indexes: Preliminary inventory.
All materials in the 27 boxes are listed in alphabetical order, listing more than 327 separate categorical topics, people, diaries, mail or items related to the American military activities in Siberia.
She authored an article describing her research experience. She wrote about how she went passionately seeking for more knowledge of and about the Siberian Campaign. She visited the soldiers personally, she wrote and visited the United States War Department, she wrote articles in
journals encouraging response from others. Her personal involvement and the time committed to learning more led her to visiting the soldiers homes personally. She wrote amorously about her findings.
As her research flourished, Faulstich “wrote intellectually and passionately about the victims of the war” from her research (authors interview no. 1, 1995). She obtained and was given samples of letters, photos and diaries which provided fodder for her book and other journal articles. The
following excerpt shows some her excitement and commitment to her work.
In the course of my research for first-hand information over a period of years, I had occasion to write to the late Kenneth Roberts, the historian whose novels have stirred so many of us. He was most helpful with information but did not have a single cover either to or from Siberia. However he suggested that a Mr. Ralph Baggs might be able to help me. I lost no time in writing to Mr. Baggs, a former Lieutenant in the Siberian A.E.F., and a correspondence of several years ensued.
Nevertheless, through the years our association became friendly and when he retired to his New England home my husband and I were invited for a visit. We had a most enjoyable time and were fascinated by his stories of happenings in the land of ice and snow but our knowledge about postal
history was not enriched.
On another visit a year or so later, I asked him shamefacedly if he wouldn’t search the house for some Siberian memoirs. “Surely you must have something,” I said. Not a darned thing he replied in characteristic style, “Except maybe in the cellar–if I ever get to it and get the thing open, there might be some of my notes in an old trunk down there.”
A trunk! My heart leaped and I immediately recalled tales of finds in old attics and barns. Mr. Baggs assured me, however, that there would be no great find, if there was anything at all. He explained that this was an old trunk which was full of souvenirs and notes that he had acquired but that there would be nothing at all written by him. …Had no idea what happened to the letters he had sent to friends. “Burned,” I guess he said and laughed. . .Well he said, ‘maybe next time you come up.’
I waited a decorous few months before I requested another visit with him. ‘Come up when you can,’ he said on the telephone, ‘we are always glad to see you.’
‘And the trunk,’ I asked, may we look at it this time?’ His reply, ‘we’ll see,’ did not seem too encouraging. However, when I arrived at his lovely old farm house it was during a cloudburst and he said upon greeting me, “It’s too nasty to enjoy the porch today. Come on down to the cellar. A rainy
day is a good time to look at old trunks.”
…We poked around a bit and finally located the object of our search……After considerable banging and nudging the lid finally sprang open. Great heaps of miscellaneous material including letters, photos, college news and clips popped out like the contents of a jack-in-the-box. I don’t believe they had seen daylight since Mr. Baggs returned from Siberia in 1919. It took hours of sorting to separate the letters. Finally this was accomplished and I was offered all of the Siberian material.
…Meanwhile this preliminary one find must suffice as no other exists, to the best of my knowledge. Bear in mind, however, that this is based solely on letters to one man. As other covers are located the gaps may one day be closed. Such is the joy of research (The American Philatelic Congress
Book, 1963, pp. 130-132).
Faulstich’s core knowledge base distinguished her as an excellent communicator from being a less than excellent communicator by knowing how to manage strategically and knowing how to use two-way communication practices. She applied and demonstrated a clear understanding of two-way communication by encouraging feed-back through the building and maintaining relationships with various publics.
The closing remarks in one of her articles demonstrates her communication to philatelic organizations and in the local communities in seeking for more information, all the while encouraging two-way communication and feedback.
My intellectual curiosity has been stimulated in an endeavor to sort and classify this mail and decide what I think it may mean to the postal historian. However, it must be stated again that this entire preliminary article is based on mail addressed to one man. Mistakes may have been made but the only way they can be corrected is by hearing from others who may have further ideas, knowledge or information. I would be pleased to enter into correspondence with anyone who has any data about the intervention, in any of its phases. My address is 37 Inwood St., Yonkers, N. Y. (The American Philatelic Congress Book, 1963, pp. 143-144).
She went ever deeper, never satisfied with just a few letters. She had to know the whole story about Siberia and she knew she was racing against time. The surviving soldiers were dying. The following example demonstrates her extensive research to find detailed and specific facts. Her persuasive people skills resulted in War Department records being declassified, (before the now Open Records Legislation was passed).
The following three excerpts are presented to demonstrate some of the results from the declassified material she obtained. The material shows salient details about the Siberian campaign; According to President Wilson’s instructions to General Graves, who was placed in command of the
troops in Siberia, we were to help these Czech troops reach Vladivostok safely; were to maintain the rail-ways in order to keep our stores of stocks in Russia on the move, and were to assist the Russians.
All this was about three months before the signing of the Armistice of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. Christmas 1918 came and went, and they received no orders to go home. Many of them froze during that 1919 winter and before too long the first anniversary of the Armistice was being celebrated everywhere except in the barracks of the A.E.F. in Siberia. It was not until 1920 that the last doughboys in Siberia found themselves on their way home to loved ones (Siberian Sojourn, vol. 1, pp. 129-130).
The example shows part of General Graves final report submitted to the War Department. This report demonstrates how successful Faulstich was in obtaining classified material for her book. Additionally, the report shows useful details about why the troops were in Siberia and that indeed
they were forgotten and could not get home after the war ended.
It was an almost impossible task to convince the Japanese or Chinese or Italian officers that on account of our sanitary regulations we can only put 150 men into a building…(one) into which they would put 300-500. They would not admit that our soldiers were deserving of any more consideration than their own (Faulstich, vol. 2 p. 126).
This example shows details which confirm some of atrocities the soldiers were faced while in Siberia. General Graves’ report was made on September 25, 1919 to the Adjutant General of the Army. These events were never published openly and Faulstich wanted to use the power of journalism, to tell the world what happened in Siberia. The last example continues to show some of the things the Americans encountered while in Siberia.
. . . Personal and official relations with Japanese headquarters have left nothing to be desired except that the Japanese have simply been following a different policy. They have resorted to bribery and trickery in every way. The Japanese Chief of Staff has stated that they have already spent one hundred million yen in Siberia on their army. They spend money in a way and follow methods that Americans cannot and must not follow. However, condemn these methods as much as we do, the fact remains that conditions are such here and the Russian people are such, that I doubt very much whether it is possible for us in the face of such obstacles to realize the American ideals of honesty, liberty and justice in Siberia for years and years to come (Faulstich, vol. 2, p127).
Always the persuasive but gracious communicator, Faulstich was ever mindful of the people who helped her with her research and work. For her, it was always we instead of me. Her acknowledgments from “A Find!” demonstrate her people skills It would not have been possible to compile this information without the devoted assistance of many who understood a bit here, and a bit there, about the situation in Siberia during the intervention.
Although the study is one of original research, I feel I must express my thanks to those who helped answer my questions and who volunteered information. Ralph Baggs deserves my very special thanks for putting at my disposal his collection of letters and covers which had been preserved for 25 years. Others who helped include the late Kenneth Roberts and the late General Robert Eichelberger who served in the campaign; C. D. Brenner; the Rev. Flyod Leach; Mrs. Ralph Fletcher and the following soldiers and nurses who also served in Siberia: P.J. O’Dea, Harold Metzeger, Laurie Kent, J. H. Whitehead, Eugene Streed, Henry Fry and Lillian Stark. Others, far too many to mention, have also contributed in some small way. My thanks go to all (24th American Philatelic Congress Book, 1963, p.144).
Faulstich did not pursue fame or fortune. She just wanted to communicate the saga of the mails and the very significant role philately played in communication, and the preservation and loss of lives. Her networking skills were one of the significant benchmarks to her success. She truly loved being in and around people.
“Truly it is not possible to describe all her accomplishments in the fields of Philately and Postal History. Her correspondence was so vast that it took her many days to answer letters from all over the world, especially in connection with her study of the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia, a book she had hoped to publish (Deutch, 2).”
As the journalist Herman Herst, Jr. wrote in 1977, Edith M. Faulstich put to paper all that she learned. No one, not even Uncle Sam, knew as much about the Siberian American Expeditionary Force as Faulstich did. Her articles appeared in newspapers and in the philatelic press; her growing collection was shown at philatelic exhibitions in all parts of the country and internationally. Mrs. Philately, as some wondered, if she should not be called Mrs. Siberia (Herst, 1977).
Herst said, that as she delved ever deeper into one of the most terrible stories to come out of W.W.I, she predicted a possible outcome. Even if no one but stamp collectors showed any interest in the Siberian Campaign, perhaps in time, others would like to see an authoritative history about that Expedition.
Herst explained that Faulstich had collected extensively along a dozen lines and still had time to become one of philately’s most renowned writers, lecturers and exhibitors. She began the daunting task of writing the first complete authoritative story about the Siberian disaster. Faulstich managed a comprehensive correspondence with the remaining soldiers themselves, mindful of the fact that there was an air of urgency to produce the book, since the number of soldiers was growing ever smaller.
The book was half-written when tragedy halted her work. Edith M. Faulstich died of cancer, leaving a stockpile of notes and files for the unfinished portion of the book. The promise which she had made to these men fell on other shoulders, those of her aging husband, Fred Faulstich and her two sons Donald H. Fisher and Stephen Fisher. It became not just one of those races against time, but a race against death, for most of the men involved in the Siberian campaign were in their 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, many who looked forward to reading her promised book never lived to realize their hope. The first of the two-volume history about the Siberian Campaign was typed out on a typewriter and finished but never copyrighted or sold.
The Fisher brothers completed the first volume, eventually published it and distributed it to a small list of surviving soldiers and their families. The aging and now deceased, Fred Faulstich completed the second volume, spending hundreds of hours on notes written by Edith M. Faulstich’s exhaustive research.
Herst concluded, that even if Uncle Sam does not always remember her exemplary sons and daughters who volunteer their very lives in the line of duty, this public communicator Edith M. Faulstich desired to preserve their story, their commitment and their loyalty with her commitment to
postal history through philately.
From Siberia to President
Faulstich demonstrated knowledge and ability to function in a communication managers role. She had a clear understanding or sense of purpose about her work. She wanted to tell people about philately, postal history and what happened in Siberia.
As an international philatelic communication manager, Faulstich was involved with the creation, organization and communication of the Postal History Society. Linn’s Stamp News published an article on Monday, October 27, 1980, demonstrating Faulstich’s involvement in the society’s origins.
Originally, Edith M. Faulstich began urging the collectors around her in 1949 and at SOJEX that it seemed high time to start a postal history society in the United States, similar to that in the United Kingdom. No one had the desire to attempt such an undertaking, and Ms. Fisher subsequently moved to Oregon to become editor of Covers, so she could not follow up on her own suggestion.
The Postal History Society was first organized at the Capex International Stamp Exhibition in November 1951. It was recognized in October of 1956. Faulstich created, wrote and edited the first Postal History Journal. In May 1957 she wrote an editors’ message:
It has been a pleasure to mold an idea for our Society into and accomplished fact. However, it is only by trial and error that we may ultimately produce the type of journal which will gain and international reputation as a source of lasting postal history reference. My fond hope is that this Utopian goal will be reached before to long.
In producing this first journal we were faced with no style pattern to follow, no backlog of material; in fact we did not even have a printer! But we met the various problems as they came along and hope that we may have met with some small success. Now we can travel forward. May the road be wide, not too bumpy, and may there be many by-paths into the postal history of all nations. My personal good wishes go to the permanent editor who will be appointed at the June convention to carry the editorial banner for our society.
Faulstich created, delegated, edited, wrote, managed and communicated for the Postal History Society for 15 years. She promoted the collecting of covers from different postal jurisdictions and stamp issuing authorities. Faulstich was very good at finding common elements that drew people together. She found there were many different periods, themes and phases about postal history.
Faulstich found “the tie which really drew members together in a common interest was in the different phases of postal history”(PHJ, 1981, p. 4. In February 1981, the Postal History Journal recounts her appointment as the first woman president of the Postal History Society.
During a visit of Mr. And Mrs. Fred Faulstich in 1964, I approached Dee Faulstich whether she would be interested in being nominated to the office of president for 1965. She doubted that my nomination would be of any value since she did not believe that the board would be interested in having a woman in that post. Of course, I objected strongly and finally with the help of Fred’s persuasion, she accepted the suggestion (PHJ, 1981, p 8).
By 1965 the Postal History Society had grown to more than 300 members. She served in the position of president for three years until her death in September 1972. It is interesting to note that there has only been one other woman president of the society since Faulstich. Because of her profound knowledge about postal history, her people skills, her networking skills, her ability to align herself with political powers and her ability to build and maintain relationships, she became an excellent communication manager.
Faulstich knew how to write, edit, and produce organization journals, handle communication production, run philatelic conferences, maintain media relations and organize speakers bureaus. It is clear that traditional communication skills such as writing and editing, are not the only skills needed for communication excellence. Faulstich demonstrated that traditional communication skills are not enough.
Faulstich knew how to design and select appropriate messages and media to strategically communicate a message outward to the publics which affected the organization’s survival. Faulstich managed an organization of 300 people, as an advocate of two-way communication she wrote for those interested in philatelic subjects.
She attended many philatelic functions, developed and maintained extensive relationships with many publics and influenced many people all over the world by communicating about postal history.
Indeed, as an advocate she influenced many people. One such person was Diane D. Boehert. When Boehert was a young woman she also wanted a chance to be published. Boehert said, “She took her personal time and mentored me with her knowledge and gave me my beginnings as a philatelic researcher and writer. I got my start in philately from Edith with her superior communication and management skills” (authors interview no. 2, September 26, 1996). Boehert was elected to the Postal History Society as the second woman president in 1989. Boehert continues to serve as president (author’s interview no. 2, 1996).
There are several existing examples which effectively demonstrate the depth and bread of her communication management skills. Faulstich managed and increased awareness about postal history.
Word of her dynamic influence, diplomacy and vast experience in the philatelic arena spread to international philatelic groups. Many people desired to have her speak and judge at international philatelic exhibitions and other related functions.
On one such occasion, Faulstich received a very glowing and edifying letter from a man stating that his club would be very honored to have such an internationally famous person speak at their stamp club meeting in southern New Jersey. The letter was signed by the president, Mr. Smerber. Faulstich recognized the name Smerber as it was not a very common name. She also remembered that he was the same Mr. Smerber from her tenth grade math class. At that time he did not link Edith M. Faulstich as being the same person as Edith M Vanderpoel. She was the same person from his 1925 tenth grade math class (author’s interview no. 2, 1996).
She wrote a very nice letter back to Mr. Smerber and graciously accepted his invitation. When Faulstich arrived at the meeting, Mr. Smerber did not recognize her when she arrived at the formal luncheon. Faulstich began her opening remarks about the importance of knowledge and commitment in the successfully promoting philatelic work. She then began to weave a captivating tale, recounting a forty year-old story about a tenth grade student and how much a teacher can impact and contribute to helping shape the future lives of students. She then coyly but ever so diplomatically turned a smile to Mr. Smerber. She said, “. . . and that student who was Edith M. Vanderpoel became Edith M. Faulstich. I stand before all of you today to say that my personal education has been and still is the key to promoting the importance of our philatelic work and research.”
She then very skillfully intertwined her enthralling story so that it resonated well with the members present by providing relevant motivational material and many gracious thanks for inviting her to speak. Faulstich never mentioned Mr. Smerber’s name in front of the audience. Faulstich and Smerber maintained contact for many years after the speech (author’s interview no. 2, 1996).
The multiplicity and interaction of various communication skills best demonstrates Faulstich and how she successfully performed journalism and public communication for philately. She clearly exhibited that there is no substitute for knowledge and research. It is clear that knowledge alone cannot establish excellent journalism or excellent public communication.
Besides her journalism and public speaking skills, excerpts from the Postal History Journal, The American Philatelic Congress Book, past articles, letters and an auction announcement undeniably demonstrate the magnitude of Faulstich’s work. She managed multiple audiences, multiple research projects, multiple print media, national and international stamp conferences, as well as a vast
international correspondence. Many of the people she worked with were icons in their own professional arenas and Faulstich associated and befriended everyone she met.
An excerpt from The 16th American Philatelic Congress Book demonstrates, Faulstich’s career in 1950 and the enormous breadth of the work she managed:
Mrs. Fisher is the stamp editor of the Newark Sunday News, (Newark, N.J.) and of the Bergen Evening Record (Hackensack, N.J.) In the latter paper her column appears three times each week. She also writes the regular American Letter for the Philatelic Magazine of London, England and regular features for the Philippine Journal of Philately, Manila. Free lance articles by-lined by her have appeared in many domestic and foreign periodicals. She has just started a regular series on cover collecting for Western Stamp Collector.
Mrs. Fisher is a Director of the Association for Stamp Exhibitions and was a member of the executive committee for Cipes 1947. She is serving as an officer and on committees for many philatelic groups including the Helvetica Society, the Collector Club of N.Y., the National Philatelic Museum, the APS, the SPA and the National Federation of Stamp Clubs. As Toast master at the Philatelic Writers Breakfast in Atlantic City in 1950 she suggested the idea of a Postal History Society in the United States. Together with Bernard Davis, she was nominated as co-chairman to investigate the feasibility of such a group. In 1949, she was awarded the Essex Stamp Club’s first Gold Medal for distinguished Service to Philately (p. 43).
Faulstich wrote for the people in the philatelic circle. She appealed to them through her journalism and related writing. Another good example reflecting Faulstich’s communication management skills can be noted in an excerpted message from the Postal History Digest in 1965, to its 300 members.
…However, we all know any society is only as great as those who are a part of it in more than name only. I therefore ask for voluntary recruits to expand the services we offer.
We now have over 300 members. Most of them reside in the United States but a goodly number reside in Canada and we also have members in England, Switzerland, Guatemala, France Belgium, Germany, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, The Netherlands, Sweden, Cuba and Yugoslavia.
If each member in each foreign country will show our wonderful Postal History Journal to other postal historians in their countries I am sure we will have more foreign members and such growth will be beneficial to all. I hope too that many of our foreign friends will be able to visit with us next year during USIPEX.
If each member in the country and in Canada will seek out other local postal historians and urge them, if they are serious in their interest, to join us we will be able to expand our membership considerably. With an expanded membership we will have additional income. With the additional income we will in turn be able to do more for our members. It is as simple as that.
Therefore, I ask each member to consider himself, or herself, a working member of our membership committee.
We think that a great deal of interest is engendered by our local metropolitan area monthly meetings and hope that members will form branches in other cities to carry on the already phenomenal growth on interest in postal history.Another way that each and every member can serve the society is to urge dealers to advertise in our high caliber Journal if they have postal history material. The income from our ads helps to make possible the continuation of the fine publication.
Last, but certainly not least, each of you can help by writing articles for consideration for the Journal and for the Digest.
We seek original, informative articles of lasting philatelic reference for the Journal and short articles, finds, and notes of interest for the Digest. In what capacity can you serve your society? Whatever it is it will be appreciated and will help me to be a better president.
Dee’s Commitment to a Cause
Faulstich was committed to the cause of promoting and increasing awareness about philately, postal history and the Siberian Campaign with a great deal of physical and intellectual effort and her own personal time.
Faulstich did not use just one best way, tool or process to become a successful journalist or public advocate for philately. But more important in demonstrating Faulstich, is that not one single component or skill made her successful as a journalist and public communicator. Faulstich did not confine her crusade solely to journalism. She used modern business practices, public speaking, fund raising, international travel and she wrote extensively to promote postal history. All of the factors presented interacted with each other and contributed to her success.
Faulstich raced to tell people about postal history and the story concerning WWI’s Siberian atrocities. Likewise, Faulstich was relentless in her appeal to obtain contact with the surviving and aging soldiers from the Siberian Expedition. Faulstich knew the power of newspapers and used the medium to advance her work. Faulstich was prolific in using journalism’s unique position to further the awareness about postal history. She used the power of print journalism and public communication to generate increased awareness about the need and value for philately and postal history through her book about the human atrocities suffered in Siberia.
Faulstich’s success in generating increased awareness is attributed to her personal contact with diverse publics. She refused mental inertia, indifferent acquiescence, tamed submission, and silence in the face of injustice. Faulstich chose a life of ceaseless unrest and a process of constantly aspiring. She stood up to be heard, she gained respect in the community for the work she had performed.
Faulstich showed tenacity and commitment to worthwhile causes. Americans needed to know about Siberia and what happened to the soldiers. Faulstich was not the typical journalist, and she wrote comprehensively about philately. Through research and postal history Faulstich wrote about the plight of the Siberian Soldiers. Faulstich was ceaseless in her cause for Siberian Soldiers. She was the first woman journalist to report about the Siberian Expedition of WWI.
Her commitment propelled her to write and communicate passionately about the history of stamps beyond traditional communication crafts.
Faulstich’s success was not based on formal communication training, advanced academic degrees, statistical controls or tight quality processes. Faulstich applied more humanistic theories to her journalism, public communication, and communication management.
Finally, Faulstich demonstrated a multiplicity and fluidity of communication skills with only a high school education and accomplished multiple professional public relation practices that preceded today’s formal training and public communication theories. But it was the time she committed to her work and the people she interacted with that made her an excellent philatelic journalist and communicator.
In the end, though it was not her goal, Faulstich received appreciation and adulation for her philatelic work from all over the world, as noted from the following excerpt:
Mrs. Edith M. Faulstich, whose collection makes up the vast majority of lots in this auction was one of the world’s foremost collectors of material devoted to the Postal History of the World. Her own title for the collection, “Saga of the Mails,” is the best description that can be given, in a single phrase.
The collection has won numerable awards, including several Grand Awards and “Court of Honor” status in both National and International Exhibitions. Much of her original research has been published in the form of monographs on specialized subjects, such as the “Extra Courier” postmarks of Switzerland, the “Cito” marks of Europe and, at the time of her death she was engaged in writing an extensive, authoritative work on the Allied Operations in North Russia and Siberia of World War I.
To attempt to describe the contents of the collection would be an exercise in futility. The magnitude is overwhelming.
The time period covered dates back to the writings on clay tablets in ancient Babylon or Asseria and progresses through the centuries up to present times.
She made so many friends through Philately-with her warmth and generosity…(Siegel, 1).
Edith M. Faulstich’s success in journalism and public communication can be illustrated in many ways. Edith M. Faulstich successfully moved beyond the social stigma of divorce, beyond poverty, and sexism.
In her early years, Faulstich went from poverty to journalism. Newspapers did hire Edith M. Faulstich during the 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s. She wrote for The Record and The Newark Sunday News.
Her research led to her having military organizations agreeing to declassify top secret military records so that she could publish an authoritative work about the Siberian Campaign during WWI. By completely devoting most of her available time to philately. Faulstich learned that not many people knew about the atrocities the American soldiers had endured in Siberia. Faulstich found a need to verbally communicate about her factual findings relative to the Siberian Campaign and postal history.
In the end, Faulstich raced to communicate against the ravages of time for philately, for the lives of the forgotten soldiers who were left in Siberia and finally she raced against time for her own life.
Faulstich also created, delegated, edited, wrote, managed and communicated for the Postal History Society for 15 years. She was instrumental in growing the society. By 1965 the Postal History Society had grown to more than 300 members by promoting the collecting of covers from different postal jurisdictions and stamp issuing authorities.
“Dee,” as her friends knew her, used a multiplicity of communication factors such as journalism, extensive research, profound knowledge, communication management skills and a relentless commitment to a cause, to become a successful international public communicator for philately. But above all, she passionately gave of her personal time to tell people about the value of postal history.
Racing against time, Faulstich became the first philatelic woman journalist, first woman author about WW1’s Siberian Expedition in Russia, first woman president and communication manager of any philatelic organization. The Postal history Society grew to exceed 300 members before she died.
Because of her journalism skills, profound knowledge about postal history, her people skills and her ability to build and maintain relationships, she became an excellent communication manager.
Her weaknesses were the uncontrollable events of life, such as physical human frailties (she died of cancer), and the injustices imposed by other people.
Faulstich had many personal strengths. For example, it is incredible that a person with only a high school education could accomplish so much through journalism and public communication. With “moxie” she met life’s challenges and with “moxie” she used multiple professional public relation practices. Faulstich preceded formal communication training and many public communication theories. The rich knowledge base of information she obtained through her research should be published and warrants further study.
If public communication and journalism historians have previously overlooked a woman as internationally well known as Edith M. Faulstich, it is quite possible that they have failed to investigate the lives of other important and successful women who used a multiplicity of communication management skills in similar avocations. There may well be other women who, once their lives have been researched, may be added to the list of proactive women who were able to confront obstacles and difficulties with spirit, courage and guts. Women like Faulstich fully understood Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s prophetic words about the valuable time she had spent for her rose. It is the personal time she invested in philately as a journalist and public communicator that has made her rose so very important (Saint-Exupery, p 87).
American Heritage Desk Dictionary. Houghton and Mifflin. 1981. p. 631.
American Philatelic Congress Book, 16th. (1950). “Edith M. Fisher,” NY, p. 43.
American Philatelic Congress Book, 29th. (1963). “A Find! – Mail to the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia; 1918-1920,” NY, pp. 129- 144.
Boehret, Diane D. (12 Oct. 1995) President, Postal History, Inc. Author’s Interview no. 2. Virginia Beach. Va.
Deutch, W.D. (Jan 1973). “Edith M. Faulstich, President-1965-1967,” Postal History Journal. Vol. 17, no. 33, p. 2.
Faulstich, Edith M. (Winter 1963). “A Capsual of Early Postal Development,” Postal History Digest. Vol 1, no, 1, pp. 5-7.
Faulstich, Edith M. (Spring 1967). “A Sincere Thank you from the President,” Postal History Digest. Vol 5, no.1, pp. 5-7.
Fisher, Donald H. and Frankie A. (14 Sept. 1995). Author’s Interview no. 1. Hunstville, Ala.
Library of Congress. Call Number: newspaper 7002, microfilm no. 1290. Newpaper Archives, Room 303. Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E. Washington, D.C. 20540.
Lockhart, Kori, San Francisco Opera, Available E-mail: Klockhart@sfopera.com. Monday, 31 Mar 1997
Map of Kinderhoock, New York. (1686) Original Source Unknown
Mills, Kay. (1988). A Place in the News: From the Women’s Pages to the Front Pages. N.Y. Dodd, Mead and Co. 1988. p. 65.
Mueller, Barbara R. (26 Sept. 1995). Author’s Interview no. 3. Jefferson, Wi.
Postal History Journal. Faulstich, Edith M. (May 1957). Vol. 1, no. 1, p. 1.
The Record. Library, 125 River Street, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601-7172.
The Record, Paul Wilder, Librarian. Internet, recordlibrary@postoffice. worldnet.att.net. March 18, 1997.
Siegeil, Robert A. “In Memoriam,” Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries. N.Y., 19 Nov. 1973. p. 2.