INSTITUTIONAL LIBRARIES: THE SAVIORS OF RARE LITERATURE
The E-Sylum (11/21/2010)
As part of my research for an article on George Rode, a key player in the founding of the American Numismatic Association, I contacted Elizabeth Hahn, Librarian of the American Numismatic Society in New York. I was seeking color images of the 1878 Constitution and By-Laws of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society (WPNS), of which Rode was a founding member.
I'd learned about Rode many years ago when I was researching the early history of WPNS. I'd written to Hahn's predecessor Frank Campbell, who furnished me with a black and white photocopy of the complete booklet, which I used to create a reprint. In all the years I've been collecting numismatic literature I've never encountered another copy of this pamphlet. To the best of my knowledge, the ANS copy is the only remaining original in the world.
Thank heaven for institutional libraries like those of the ANS and ANA. They're not perfect, but through their stewardship many ultrarare items such as this have been preserved for future generations of researchers and collectors. Thank you!