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ATA Study Units Cinderella Sheet
ATA Cinderella sheet comprised of Study Units and second logo.

ATA History

The American Topical Association was founded in November, 1949, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Behind-the-scenes recollections of its inception, written by Founder Jerry Husak, are located in the "Founding of ATA" link to the right. What started as a teenager's bright idea has become the world's leading organization for thematic/topical stamp collecting! Over 56,000 collectors from almost 100 countries have contributed to the vibrancy of ATA. Snippets of ATA memories will be added to this page as its history evolves.

Fifty-nine popular topical subjects, each adapted from actual stamp designs of 20 countries, appeared in vivid multi-color on sheets of philatelic seals (shown here) produced by the American Topical Association in the mid-1970s.

The 5 × 8 inch sheet contains 40 seals each 1 inch square with 6-color ATA coat of arms (globe and lamp of knowledge) arranged in checkerboard pattern interspersed with seals picturing in 6 to 8 colors, 20 major topics and 39 subtopics: animals (horses), space (rocket, astronomy, communications); Americana (flag, statue of liberty); sports (soccer, Olympics); ships (sailing ship); art (painting, nude, da Vinci); medicine (reptile, symbol); flowers (rose); railways (steam locomotive); religion (Madonna and Child, Christmas); music (notation, composer, instrument); Scouts (symbol, jamboree encampment); marine life (fish, coral, sea shell); United Nations worldwide (bird-dove, UN emblem); insects (butterfly); stamps on stamps (Churchill, Mason, tools of philately: magnifying glass, tongs); maps (polar, antarctic); Europa (birds); geology (mineral) and aviation (Concorde, balloon, UPU).

The twenty countries whose stamp designs provided sources for seal designs are: Poland, New Zealand, Japan, Uruguay, Portugal, Denmark, United Nations, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany (West), Congo, Sweden, Korea, Israel, Cuba, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, United States, France.