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The E-Sylum:  Volume 2, Number 35, August 29, 1999, Article 5

GARRETT COLLECTION CORRESPONDENCE  

   Earlier this month, on the Numislit mailing list, subscriber 
   Michael Berkman posted the following note:  

   "I had the pleasure of going to the Garretts' beautiful residence 
   in Baltimore, the Evergreen house (pictured on covers of 
   B&R Garrett I-IV).  Housed therein are the Garretts' 
   correspondence with all the dealers and organizations of the 
   time. I had the privilege of examining these, which are all 
   housed in file folders in the basement of the house. The letters 
   are simply fascinating. One can truly learn much about the 
   numismatic scene from the 1870s through 1940s from those 
   letters. Among the personalities represented in the 
   correspondence files were the Chapman brothers, W. Elliot 
   Woodward, Wayte Raymond, B. Max Mehl, David Proskey, 
   Burdette G. Johnson, Thomas Elder,  J. Colvin Randall, 
   Harold P. Newlin and even Anthony C. Paquet.  

   Although Bowers copied some key letters into The History of 
   U.S. Coinage as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection, some 
   terrific letters were omitted.  The book is no replacement for 
   viewing the files in person, which brings me to my next point. 
   Since only half a dozen people (per the museum's estimate) 
   have viewed the letters in the last 20 years, should they be sold? 
   In their current space, they are kept in a dark dungeon-like 
   room in old rusty file cabinets. In my opinion, they should either 
   be transcribed into a book or sold.  The numismatic community 
   should have access to items such as these, as no comparable 
   series of numismatic letters and telegrams exists."  

   Dan Freidus responded, in part: "A half dozen scholars viewing 
   material over a 20 year period doesn't sound like such light 
   usage that an archive would want to discard the letters. 
   Remember that when Walter Breen started his work for Wayte 
   Raymond in the National Archives in the 1950s, he worked 
   with documents that hadn't been looked at by ANYONE in 
   150 years."  

   Other people commenting generally agreed that the archive should 
   not be dispersed, and suggested indexing, transcribing, publishing, 
   and/or donating them to a numismatic library such as ANS. 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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