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Recipient of the 1990 Russell L. Paxton Award

Leslie W. Boyer

From The Fossil no. 334, October 2007


by Guy Miller

James F. Guinane of New Town, Tasmania, Australia, passed from amongst us on June 23 of this year. ... [W]e bid farewell to this rare amateur after a quote from issue 2 of his Small Talk (December 1986) concerning Les Boyer: "I have received from Les Boyer four copies of his enviable little journal The Echo....Nothing he writes in his all-editorial issues is obvious, contrived or boring. In No. 91 `My Wife, the Printer' may seem obvious but only in the sense of being a `natural.' With a title like that no one could go past. Every printer stops instantly in awe and every wife is immobilised by disbelief. Through another of his wife's interests, which Les reveals to us, we discover that she is a woman of admirable humor. Who else would go down on her knees at Westminster Abbey and in reverent posture take a brass rubbing of an old manhole cover? These words especially: `T. Crapper and Co., Sanitary Engineers...Chelsea, London.'" Such an introduction to The Echo leaves us little else to say in praise of the journal except that it reached its 100th edition in 1991. In "Shreds of News About Fossils" (The Fossil Vol. 88 No. 3, April 1991), the reporter has this comment: "Last year...The Echo had reached an impressive 99 issues. Many amateurs would at that point have rushed to the press to churn out a quick four pager to entitle them to membership in the rather exclusive `centurion' category...But Les isn't that type, and he let the amateur world wait until the March AAPA bundle to reveal his classy 100th number. The first issue was back in May of 1943, so it required just short of 48 years for Boyer to reach this milestone."

Leslie W. Boyer, also a member of NAPA (1944) and the Fossils (1962), is listed on the Secretary's roster as having joined AAPA on or about March 15, 1942, and through his active span of 65 years had exhibited intense interest in the hobby. In an article by then Fossil President Lee Hawes entitled "Fossil Les Boyer Is AAPA Stalwart" (The Fossil Vol. 62 No. 181, Autumn 1964), we learn that Les, the newly elected AAPA Official Editor, held his first office in AAPA when he was 15 years old (1944). From then on over the years, except for a period of necessary preoccupation with college work and the U.S. Marines, Les poured generous energy into AAPA political affairs. In 1993 Les and Ralph Babcock were honored for their 50 years of activity with the comment that by that time Les had held "every position available in AAPA." Writing of Les's terms as president in 1962 and 1963, Lee observes, "His terms were considered `solidifying years of building,' which laid the foundation for the association's real growth and `grass roots' strengthening through local chapters. At the time of his death of June 21 he was on the ballot as a candidate for Secretary-Treasurer.

A similar interest that Les held for AAPA was also evidenced during his early years in the Fossils. Minutes of the annual meetings then held in New York City record that Les, then a resident of Hartsdale, NY, took an active part in the proceedings. Later, from 1968 through 1971, he served The Fossils as Librarian, a post that was by the end of his stint becoming involved in controversies over the placement of the Fossil Library. His latest assignment was as a member on the Gold Composing Stick Award committee. In addition to this political activity Les contributed articles to The Fossil, including two articles on Sheldon and Helen Wesson—one entitled "The Fossil in Japan" (The Fossil Vol. 94 No. 298, April 1997) gives an account of the Wessons' toil in seeing through the publication of Truman Spencer's The History of Amateur Journalism. In reviewing his active ajay life, it logically follows that Les would have been honored with the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for Service to Amateur Journalism which was presented to him by President Victor Moitoret at the AAPA Convention in Tacoma, Washington, August 18, 1990. Opined the judges for the Award: "His interest in the hobby crosses organizational lines, and he has not taken part in the rivalries and controversies that occasionally occur except as a voice of reason that stressed the purposes of our organizations...."

A recent note of Lee Hawes brings good news about Les's large ajay collection. Lee has asked Elaine to send it to him for the present, and he will see to its disposition.

Before rendering our final salute, we should mention that, besides The Echo, Les had also published numerous other journals, including La Cucaracha, The Missourian (with co-editor Dean Rea), The Bibulous Bastard, The Metropolitan Amateur (official organ of the Metropolitan Chapter of AAPA), The &mpersand and his latest journal The Desktopper.