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Originally, the Elsewhere Philatelic Society was a small, private group that met bi-weekly at the Underground Library, a secret research institution. The group's original name was the Elsewhere Talismanic Object Appreciation Society. All manner of collected items with ties to Elsewhere were brought in for group examination: stamps, coins, teaspoons, thimbles, records, marbles, comic books, trading cards, keychains, snowglobes, salt-and-pepper shakers, locks of hair, and so forth. Between 1930 and 1970 the organization grew to over four hundred members, rapidly outgrowing the meeting space available in the library and the attention span of most of its members. The group's founders decided to split the Philatelic Society from the ETOAS and meet just once a month. Soon many of the other collectors stopped attending and the ETOAS ceased to exist; the Elsewhere Numismatic Society emerged from the remains of the group, blatantly copying the Philatelic Society's organization and style. The ENS rapidly became the EPS's arch rivals for both membership and lane time in the Underground Library's bowling center.
Surely the firing of Sarah Billet in 1972 (for allowing a patron to deface an original copy of "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions") was the first of many rifts between the EPS and the Underground Library. Sarah was much beloved by the Philatelists, as she was frequently our loudest advocate during planning meetings; it was her passionate oration that swung the final winning vote of the Trustees to allocate funds for the climate-controlled philatelic chamber in the Memetic Research alcove. The chamber held many of the group's rarest acquisitions, a collection of unusual letters, several unique maps, and oddly, one human femur of unknown origin.
Perhaps for her, the separation was fortuitous; as the director of the library's metaphysics collection had just begun advocating an unusual "science-based self-awareness" program to all his employees and other staff. in 1981 some of the larger meeting rooms of the library were converted into workshops; one of the quietest and least-brightly lit--frankly the best suited for philatelic collection and preservation--was converted into a photographic lab of some unspecified kind and completely closed to the general public, with greatly restricted access allowed to staff without proper authorization from the library staff.
The May 12 1993 demonstration of an exciting new laser-canceling system under development by Professor Newman Rochester and the resulting smoke and sprinkler damage to the engineering collection further damaged the relationship between the Society and the library trustees. Some in the Society believe this to be the origin of a campaign of retaliatory events stretching over the next 27 years. In an unprecedented move for the normally secretive library board, forensic investigators for the San Francisco Police Department were allowed access to the library and directed to the femur, which they confiscated as evidence. No charges were filed, but the bone was never returned to the society.
In another clear slight against the Society, The National Elsewhere Philatelic Convocation of 1998 canceled on the day of the event due to what library officials called a "scheduling mishap," when the room booked a year in advance was given instead to the Elsewhere Numismatic Society for their Coin Cleaning and Homeless Clothes Washing outreach drive. With every flat surface in the library covered with drying coins, laundry, and mostly-nude homeless people, there was no room for the event. Even more embarrassingly, upon his arrival the keynote speaker was told to check in before having his clothes washed. Upon being discovered nude by Society members, he disappeared and has never been heard from again.
However the ultimate wedge between the Society and the Library was not merely damaging interpersonally. An unknown person surreptitiously unlocked and depressurized the philatelic chamber on the evening before the scheduled steam-cleaning of the alcove's rugs. Damage to the collection was extensive and devastating, with only a few designs from Elsewhere surviving. Library officials denied that any of their employees were involved, pointing blame back on Society members, and would not cooperate with our requests to view surveillance tapes of the day before the incident.
Without a central meeting location the EPS has today begun a search not only for a new home for the collection of stamps, but also for new members and new collectors. The Society's itinerant philatelists still hope to discover traditional Elsewhere postage designs and to create brand new ones as well. Thank you for your interest in the important work of preserving and advancing the Postal Arts of Elsewhere!
fig. 1 Philatelic Chamber (proposed)
fig. 2 Laser Cancelled Stamp
fig. 2 Xenoterric Stamp subject (mundane) 1970
fig. 4 Liebniz's Discourse on Metaphysics, 1908
fig. 5 Femur (not ours)