Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Fig. 1. Photo of William R. Ricketts in 1934. H. L. Lindquist, The Blue Book of Philately (1935) : 312

William Reynolds Ricketts (1869-1956), was born on July 29, 1869, at Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, son of Colonel Robert Bruce Ricketts (1839-1918), a wealthy lumber and coal industry magnate, and Elizabeth Reynolds Ricketts (1842-1918).

In 1887, age eighteen, he became a collector of philatelic literature.

In 1892, he graduated Yale, Sheffield Scientific School, civil engineering.

In 1905, he joined the Philatelic Society of London.

In 1906, he appears to have married Stella Mercer Shoemaker (1877-1907), and his wife appears to have died during childbirth.

In 1907, he became a fellow of the Philatelic Society of London.

The 1910, U. S. Census lists him as a business manager in the Ricketts family lumber and coal business and is listed as a widower living with his two-year-old son Robert B. Ricketts (born December 7, 1907-), and two housemaids.

From February 1911 through December 1926, the APS published his American Philatelic Society Philatelic Index, American Philatelist Supplement.

A. C. Roessler correspondence with Ricketts in August 1912. 
Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. For sale. $600.

From 1912-1914, he published his bibliography of articles on U.S. Postmaster provisionals, carriers, locals, and Sanitary Fair stamps, in the United Stamp Company Herald.
Fig. Correspondence from William Frederick Fratcher (1867-1947) of Michigan Stamp & Coin Company to W. R. Ricketts postmarked 1915. This is the original address of Fratcher's company, which a few years later moved down the street to 922 Michigan Avenue. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1915, he and Hiram E. Deats discovered John Kerr Tiffany's 1889 unpublished manuscript : A Catalogue of Philatelic Publications, Arranged by the Decimal System.

Fig. Photo of Ricketts published in the American Philatelist 1915.

In 1916, he sold off all his stamp collections.

In 1916, he discovered an 1871 manuscript of John Kerr Tiffany at the Boston Public Library, A Reference List of Publications Relating to Postage-Stamps and their Collection, Compiled by Request for the Boston Public Library, 1871

On June 7, 1916, he married Margaret Lee Beach (1881-1950), at Saratoga, New York. They had two daughters Esther Bennett Ricketts and Elizabeth Reynolds Ricketts. Elizabeth married John Sterling.

In 1921, he was inducted into the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.

In 1925, he was the librarian of the Collectors Club, New York. 

In 1934, he lived at 1577 Wyoming Avenue, Forty Fort, Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

In August 1945, he sold the first part of his philatelic literature collection comprising 1013 lots through Paul Bluss, Sale #427.

On October 5, 1946, he sold the second part of his philatelic literature collection comprising 120 lots through Paul Bluss, Sale #450.

He retired moving to Ganoga Lake, Benton, Pennsylvania.

He died of prostate cancer on October 14, 1956, at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

In 1988, he was inducted into the APS Hall of Fame.

The unsold portions of the Ricketts library were sold after the death of Paul Bluss to L. R. Stadtmiller. George Albert Atkins obtained the Ricketts library remnants after the death of Stadtmiller. The Ricketts Philatelic West hoard owned by Atkins was bought at auction in Eden, North Carolina by John N. Lupia, III. The Lupia Numismatic and Philatelic Library has the largest hoard of Philatelic West known comprising 1,600 issues. Everything is available for sale. Write john@numismaticmall.com

For Bibliography see below this advertisement.

Bibliography :

American Philatelist
Collectors Club Philatelist
Harry L. Lindquist, The Blue Book of Philately (1935) : 312
Paul Bluss, The Ricketts Collection of Philatelic Literature. (1945)
Paul Bluss, Postage Stamps Philatelic Literature. (1946), Ricketts lots 600-720.
James Negus and Brian J. Birch, "Unpublished Tiffany Manuscripts," Philatelic Literature Review, No. 62, 1st Quarter (2013) : 28-50

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