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The E-Sylum (1/22/2017)

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The latest addition to the Newman Numismatic Portal is a large set of U.S. Mint-related documents from the National Archives. Project Coordinator Len Augsburger provided the following report. -Editor

Newman Portal Incorporates National Archives Material from Robert W. Julian

Rg104Entry11img1to400_0000 The U.S. Mint material in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been an important resource for those able to dedicate the time and effort required to unlock its secrets. Walter Breen was the first to substantially publish from the Archives, operating under the patronage of Wayte Raymond in the early 1950s. Bob Julian mounted a similar effort beginning in the 1960s, and, in the days predating the ubiquitous photocopier, occasionally captured its content by reading documents into an audio tape recorder. Both of these researchers generally focused on 18th and 19th century material, with Roger W. Burdette making the next major "discovery" in the 20th century holdings and publishing his work in the Renaissance of American Coinage trilogy. Along the way many others made occasional visits, with the litigation surrounding the 1933 double eagles attracting more than a few.

Operating under a grant from the Central States Numismatic Society, Bob Julian has recently directed the scanning of over 39,000 pages of U.S. Mint-related records from the NARA facility in Philadelphia. The material is now available in its entirety on the Newman Portal. This group is especially rich in correspondence of the early Philadelphia Mint (Record Group 104 / U.S. Mint, Entry 1 / General Correspondence) and of the New Orleans Mint (Record Group 104 / U.S. Mint, Entry 11 / Branch Mint Correspondence). Access to these documents has heretofore only been possible by physically visiting the NARA facility and calling for the boxes of interest. The online availability opens this material to a wide pool of researchers.

Although many of the physical barriers have now been removed, the content remains challenging. Scholars still need to put documents in context, and absorb enough of the material to make generalizations about Mint practices and personalities. There is also a need to index thousands of individual documents to make them more "discoverable" for the next generation. Still, numismatics is an accumulative science, and this contribution of Bob Julian and the Central States Numismatic Society is an important step forward for American numismatic research.

Link to National Archives material on the Newman Portal:

Image: Correspondence from Mint Director Robert M. Patterson to Treasury Secretary Levi Woodbury, August 14, 1835, requesting $8,000 of the $200,000 allocated to the New Orleans Mint construction, for "payments on the machinery." From Record Group 104, Entry 11.

  • Entry 1, General Correspondence
  • Entry 104, Die Shipments from Philadelphia
  • Entry 11, Branch Mint Correspondence
  • Entry 113, Bullion Received
  • Entry 115, Bullion Deposits
  • Entry 116, Small Gold Deposits
  • Entry 118, Gold Bullion Deposits
  • Entry 14, Anonymous Letters
  • Entry 148, Bullion Weight Records
  • Entry 162, Mint Rules
  • Entry 178, Ordinary Receipts and Expenditures
  • Entry 181, Ordinary Receipts and Expenditures
  • Entry 186, Deposit Warrants
  • Entry 19, Letters Sent by Treasurer
  • Entry 196, Personnel Record
  • Entry 197, Laborer's Bills
  • Entry 2, Boulton Correspondence
  • Entry 229, Letters Received by Bureau of the Mint
  • Entry 23, Franklin Peale correspondence
  • Entry 235, Letters Sent by Director's Office
  • Entry 24B, Slidell Investigation into New Orleans Mint
  • Entry 3, Letters Sent
  • Entry 38, Deposits Waste Books
  • Entry 40, Coinage Tables 1792-1835
  • Entry 41, Chief Coiner's Gold Account Book
  • Entry 42, Chief Coiner's Copper Account Book
  • Entry 45, Chief Coiner Daily Contingent Expenses
  • Entry 47, Warrants to Cover Waste on Coinage
  • Entry 49, Chief Coiner Journal
  • Entry 96, Bullion Ledgers
  • Entry 97, Bullion Journals

Wow - what a great trove of primary source material! Many, many thanks to both Bob Julian and the Newman Portal for making this collection available. It's only a drop in the bucket of relevant material available in the Archives, but it's a prize for serious researchers and casual readers alike. -Editor
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