At its annual meeting at CHARPEX in 1983, the North Carolina Postal History Society established the North Carolina Postal History Award for the best exhibit of N.C. postal history. Additionally, at the same time they created a second award for research or other important contributions to the study of N.C. Postal history. Details of the establishment of the awards can be found in the North Carolina Postal History Society Newsletter Issue 5, 1983.
In 1984, Elizabeth Tate, the niece of Andrew Earl Weatherly (July 10, 1895 – December 1981) donated three international medallions and a pewter pitcher won by Mr. Weatherly during his philatelic exhibiting career. Mr. Weatherly was a collector and student of Confederate States stamps and postal history, with a particular interest in the postal history of N.C. He was an early member of the Confederate Stamp Alliance (CSA), now known as the Civil War Philatelic Society, and served the CSA in many capacities, including being Society President from 1946 until 1949. Mr. Weatherly authored many articles on Confederate postal history and was an active exhibitor. He received many awards for his research, writings, and exhibits from the 1940s into the 1970s. Of particular note was his collection of Confederate States’ postal history and stamps which won international and national level gold medals. He also authored the book The First Hundred Years of Historic Guilford, 1771-1871, which was published in 1972. In 1984, Mr. Weatherly was inducted into the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame.
These items were incorporated into the A. Earl Weatherly trophy on which the names of the winners of the two awards established in 1983 would be recorded. The two awards then jointly became known as the A. Earl Weatherly Award with either award being given in any year provided an awardee was selected. As awards were made for an exhibit or a research/literary contribution, names were added to the trophy. Details of the trophy creation can be found in the North Carolina Postal History Society Newsletter Issue 9, 1984 and Issue 15, 1985.
In 2011 the North Carolina Postal History Society Literature Award was established to recognize the best article in the previous year’s journal. At the same time the criteria for the society’s exhibit award were codified and the award was transitioned from the A. Earl Weatherly exhibit award to the North Carolina Postal History Society Exhibit Award. This provided the society a total of three awards. The Postal History Society Literature Award which was given annually and the North Carolina Postal History Society Exhibit Award which was awarded as deemed appropriate by the society, and the A. Earl Weatherly award for research or other important contributions to the study of N.C. Postal history.
In 2020 a committee of society members was asked to review the existing award structure and to make recommendations for the realignment of the awards. The recommendations of the committee were approved by the society in 2021 and resulted in the current award structure and criteria described on the current awards page.