You are here

HIV/AIDS - The Blair Henshaw Philatelic Collection: About Blair

 Blair Henshaw photo
Blair Coldwell Henshaw was born July 2, 1949, in Digby, Nova Scotia. He moved to Vancouver in the 1960s and worked as a letter carrier, a hospital orderly, and as a library assistant with the National Film Board.

Henshaw was a long-time philatelist and began developing a collection of HIV/AIDS stamps after the world’s first AIDS stamp was released in 1988. He continued collecting until late 2001. In 1992, seven years after being diagnosed HIV positive, Henshaw began lobbying Canada Post and the Federal Government to produce a Canadian stamp featuring HIV/AIDS in order to raise awareness in Canada and abroad. His efforts were successful with the issuance on May 8, 1996 of Canada’s HIV/AIDS awareness stamp. The stamp was based on an image by Vancouver artist Joe Average.

The image commemorated the 11th International AIDS conference held in Vancouver, which had the theme “One World, One Hope”. The Henshaw collection grew to include postcards, comics, first issues of stamps, and other materials. He died June 15, 2002, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Henshaw collection was auctioned November 8, 2004, at All Nations Stamp and Coin. It was acquired by John Keenlyside and donated to Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books.

Photo by Hugh Peck, courtesy of the BC Philatelic Society.

Return to The Blair Henshaw HIV/AIDS Philatelic Collection web site.