Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III
Fig. 1. Photo of Delf Norona c. 1973
Delfino "Delf" Joaquin Norona (1895-1974), was born on April 14, 1895, at Victoria, Hong Kong, son of Carlos Henrique Noronha (1859-1943), who was born in France, and his mother was born in Australia.
Delf Norona has an amazing ancestry since he is a Franco-Portuguese-Australian-born in Chinese Hong Kong under British rule and became a Canadian and finally an American.
His surname Noronha is Portuguese which is pronounced like the Spanish Noroña (Nor on-yah). However, he Anglicized his spelling and pronunciation to simply Norona.
He moved from Hong Kong to Toronto, Canada.
He seems to have come to the United States during World World I, and served in the U. S. Army.
In 1918, he joined the Society of Philatelic Americans and was listed as SPA Member No. 2942, and recorded working as the Purchasing Division, Maryland Dredging and Construction Company, Aberdeen, Maryland.
He apparently returned to Toronto, Canada, where he married Olive White (1887-), of Scottish ancestry who lived there. They had a son Delf Armistice Norona (1923-).
In December 1921 they came to the United States on his second sojourn arriving at Port Buffalo.
They moved south settling at 1924 Washington Street, Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia. He worked as a stenographer as a Court Reporter. His work brought him into contact with other organizations that allowed him to pursue his interests in history and research, namely, the West Virginia Historical Society, the West Virginia Archeological Society, and the West Virginia Civil War Centennial Commission. Concomitant with these interests his passion for philately grew into a detailed study of postal history and postal markings. Besides his illustrious career as a world renowned philatelist and postal historian he is remembered for his important contributions to West Virginia history and archaeology, particularly relating to the Grave Creek Mound in Marshall County. He helped found the West Virginia Archaeological Society in 1949.
In 1933, he published Cyclopedia of United States Postmarks and Postal History.
In 1935, he was a founder of the Ohio Valley Stamp Club at Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1935, he published General Catalogue of United States Postmarks.
He was president of Moundsville, West Virginia, an archaeological site. By 1952 due his his work and planning a museum was built. He served as the Museum Curator lifelong from 1952-1974. The Delf Norona Museum began posthumously in 1977.
In 1946, he published Upper Ohio Valley Pioneer.
In 1956, he published Wheeling :A West Virginia Place-Name of Indian Origin.
He died on April 12, 1974, two days before his 79th birthday.
He was the recipient of the Sigfus Olafson Award for his outstanding contributions to West Virginia archeology. He wrote numerous articles for the West Virginia History and West Virginia Archeologist journals, and was president of the West Virginia Historical Society and secretary of the American Philatelic Society.
He was inducted to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1975.
For Bibliography see below this advertisement.
Work : Alphabetic
Catalog and Type Chart of A. E. F. Covers, 16 pages
Chicago Postal Markings (1836-1892), 26 pages
Cyclopedia of United States Postmarks and Postal History.
Domestic Letter Postage Rates (1792-1932), 14 pages
"Earliest Postal Service in West Virginia," West Virginia History, Vol. II, No. 1
General Catalogue of United States Postmarks.
Upper Ohio Valley Pioneer.
War Cover Philatelist
West Virginia Archeologist (Journal)
West Virginia History (Journal)
Wheeling :A West Virginia Place-Name of Indian Origin.
Stamp Herald, November (1918) : 62
American Philatelist and Yearbook (1920) : 90, listed as Delf Noronha, Toronto, Canada.
Collectors Club Philatelist (1934) : 3
Stamps : A Weekly Magazine of Philately (1937) : 483, announces his War Cover Philatelist (Journal)
War Cover Philatelist (1938)
Stamps : A Weekly Magazine of Philately (1940) : 439
Collectors Club Philatelist (1941) : 155
The Rotarian, January (1947) : 61, Norona's discovery of inscribed stones
William J. Mayer Oakes, Prehistory of the Upper Ohio Valley: An Introduction (1955) : 278
American Philatelist and Yearbook (1975) : 728-730
Philatelic Literature Review (1989) : 38-39
Franklin Folsom, Mary Elting, America's Ancient Treasures : A Guide to Archaeological Sites (1993)
Robert W. Schramm, Moundville (2004)
Linda S. Cordell, Kent Lightfoot, Francis McManamon, Archaeology in America : An Encyclopedia (2008)