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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 6, February 6, 2000, Article 6

ANNE WILLING BINGHAM   

   An article by Red Henry in the January 15, 2000 issue of  
   "Penny Wise",  the official publication of Early American  
   Coppers, Inc, traces the life of Anne Willing Bingham, who  
   is believed to be the model for the early U.S. "Draped Bust"  
   coinage.   

   The article was inspired by his chance discovery of a  
   book "in a West Virginia junk store."  Written by Robert  
   C. Alberts in 1969, and published by Houghton-Mifflin,  
   the book's title is "The Golden Voyage: The Life and Times  
   of William Bingham, 1752-1804."   Here's an excerpt from  
   Henry's article describing Bingham's wife Anne:   

   "Anne, nicknamed Nancy, grew up in an opulent household,  
   and was given a thorough education in English, foreign  
   languages, music, and other accomplishments considered  
   suitable for young ladies of her day.  She naturally became  
   acquainted with many of the most remarkable people in  
   town (many of whom were her relatives), and during the  
   Revolution, George Washington made his headquarters for  
   some time in the house next door, in which young Anne  
   was a familiar visitor.  By age 16, when she met William  
   Bingham, she was "the most beautiful young woman in  
   Philadelphia."   

   Just as the name of Bingham rang a bell in Mr. Henry's  
   mind, the title seemed oddly familiar to me, too.  I wheeled  
   my desk chair a few feet away and plucked a copy of the  
   very book from a shelf.   It had been sitting there for years,  
   but I hadn't made the connection to U.S. coinage.   

   The author, who passed away a few years ago, was a native  
   of Pittsburgh, and I had the pleasure of meeting him once.  I  
   gradually accumulated copies of all his books.  My favorite  
   one is his first, "The Most Extraordinary Adventures of Major  
   Robert Stobo",  whom Alberts describes as "perhaps the least  
   appreciated,  most undervalued hero of our colonial period."   

   Thanks to Mr. Henry, U.S. numismatic researchers have  
   another source of information, and the Bingham book, with its  
   portraits of  Anne Willing Bingham by Gilbert Stuart, will now  
   migrate to my numismatic library.  

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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