Keith Marvin (#282)

Keith Marvin was born in Troy New York on July 1, 1924. He passed June 22, 2009 at age 84 in Larkspur California after a brief illness. Ironically, his passing came on the first day of the 2009 ALPCA National convention in Erie. Keith was an Army veteran of WWII and worked as a staff and faculty member of the Hoosac School in Hoosick New York from 1944 to 1948. He is survived by his sons Dwight Marvin II of Kentucky, William Marvin of California and a daughter India Dobson also of California. He is also survived by his former wife, Beverly Lavin of Florida. His first wife, Dorothy Knippel Marvin predeceased him in 1961.

Considered the great historian of license plate collecting, he wrote three books specifically on license plates: License Plates Extinct and Extant written in 1956 with the late Arthur Keck, License Plates of the World written in 1963 and Of Singular Fancy in 1992 which to use his own words was written because "I wanted to". All of the books sold out in record time. He began collecting plates in 1930 at the age of six while visiting family in New Jersey. His uncle, George Marvin is credited with "seducing" Keith into the world of license plates. Keith was a license plate collector before it was considered fashionable. He was a source of information for all ALPCA members as he was one of the few around who was actively collecting so early. He joined the club in 1959 and was a frequent attendee at local and national meets when his health permitted. A long time resident of northeastern New York he obtained New York registration 000000-1 when the state expanded to eight characters. He called it the ultimate low number. He later obtained number 01. Keith was the first ALPCA member to design a license plate for a foreign country. He was commissioned by the Administrator of Saba, an island of the Netherlands Antilles to design and arrange for the manufacture of motor vehicle license plates. He also had to arrange for registration cards to be made in Dutch to accompany the plates. His white on vermillion design was accepted by the island in 1963 and remained in use until 1969.

Keith was a fancier of early Rolls-Royce automobiles and wrote extensively on the pleasures associated with owning one. Keith was a member of: The Society of Automotive Historians (SAH) and President in 1986 and 1987, Antique Automobile Club of America, Classic Car Club of America, Co-founder of The Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley, Europlate, The H.H. Franklin Club, The New Brunswick Antique Auto Club, The Rolls-Royce Owners' Club, The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Fund, Honorary member of The Stutz Club, the Horseless Carriage Foundation, Veteran Motor Car Club of America, Board member of Larz Anderson museum in Boston, Voitures Anciennes du Quebec, VFW, Sons of the American Revolution, Mary Warren Institute and the Willys-Knight-Overland Registry. He wrote or co-wrote seven books and published more than 3000 articles on automotive history, including feature articles, news items, obituaries, and book reviews for more than 70 publications. He was a guest columnist for the ALPCA newsletters and Roger Haynes' Tags'n'Stuff. He was the recipient of the Peter Helck Memorial Trophy in 2003, the Byron C. Hull award for automotive history in 1962 and the Carl Benz Award from the SAH in 1985 as well as several awards for research and writing from the AACA. Keith believed in simple easy to read license plates and was not an advocate of the optional graphic types. He was a champion of the obscure makes of American cars of the 1920s. His writings comprise in many cases the only written record of a forgotten period.

It is our great pleasure to honor Keith Marvin with induction into the ALPCA Hall of Fame.