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NNP Blog

Apr 08 2019

U.S. Mint Newsletters on Newman Portal

If the Mint had an employee newsletter, what would be in it?  Complete details of all Mint delicacies from dies to fantasy coins?  Catalogs of the work of every engraver? Production records of each piece of equipment within the Mint?  We can dream! But, apart from dreaming, we can actually answer this question, courtesy of John Graffeo, who scanned The Mint at Philadelphia, an internal Mint newsletter, for the period 1969-1971. These were located at the National Archives in Denver and scanned under the sponsorship of Newman Portal. 

Much of the content is typical for such a publication – appeals for employee safety, lists of new employees and service anniversaries, notes on Civil Service and benefits program changes, etc. But, amid the quotidian chaff, there are a few gems. In the September 1971 issue, Engraver Frank Gasparro comments on his appearance on “What’s My Line?,” which aired in late 1971 or early 1972. Gasparro notes “You certainly get coached on the show. You even have to sign a contract to verify the show is on the up and up. I thought the show would help in selling the Eisenhower dollar. The public is still not aware of the impact of the new silver dollar, nor are the people aware of the obverse and reverse design. When the panel and I discussed the reverse of our coins, like the penny, nickel, Kennedy-half and quarter, they were actually stumped as to what was on the reverses.”

Also useful are notices of employee awards, which in some cases detail process improvements within the Mint, and retirement notices that lend color to the careers of Mint employees. In 1969, there is coverage of the (fourth) Philadelphia Mint opening, along with sentimental observations on the closing of the third Mint. The publication as a whole provides insight into the Mint as a workplace, a different perspective from collectors who are only interested in the end products. Additional employee newsletters will be found in box 5 of the Denver Mint archives group, Miscellaneous Correspondence and Memos 1897-1994, on Newman Portal.

Link to The Mint at Philadelphia on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/book/545518
Link to Denver Mint Miscellaneous Correspondence and Memos 1897-1994 on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/archivedetail/525861
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