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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 13, March 26, 2006, Article 12

NOTES ON THE SCOVILL ARCHIVES AND DIES

Dick Johnson writes: "Fellow Rittenhouse Society member George
Fuld will be pleased to know that much of his correspondence
with Edward H. Davis (1879-1976), longtime Scovill historian,
is in the Baker Business Library at Harvard University among
the Scovill papers. Davis’ papers are here as well as those of
Scovill Manufacturing Company itself.

We are thankful for George’s report in last week’s E-Sylum,
which contains vital and useful data on his experience with
Edward Davis and Scovill’s token and medal productions. But
his last paragraph included a few misstatements and I'd like
to offer some corrections.

Although George stated that "Davis lived for a few years
into the early sixties", Davis died June 1976.

And though George believed that Scovill's "medal and token
production ceased in the 1920's", the business actually
continued to at least 1939.  We have photocopies of Davis'
typed inventory of the Scovill company archive collection.
There are token and medal issues all through the 1920s and
1930s. The last dated item in their archive collection was
the Golden Gate Expo Medal of 1939. It was World War II that
halted their token and medal manufacture.

Most importantly, although it was George's understanding that
Scovill dies were sold as scrap metal.  In fact, the dies were
very much in existence and transferred to the Waterbury Companies
in 1961 when it took over the assets of Scovill. This firm hired
museum consultant Bruce S. Babelon, who examined between 15,000
and 16,000 dies, determining that 2,044 had historical significance
and he distributed these to 18 museums in America. Not all the
remaining dies were scrapped.  I reported on the Scovill dies in
the March 5, 2006 E-Sylum. See esylum_v09n10a08

Mint history expert Craig Scholly joined me in meeting with
museum authority Bruce Bazelon 23 October 1998 who gave us each
a half dozen or so Scovill dies. Thus some Scovill dies are in
private hands. The bulk of these were button dies, since,
obviously, the bulk of Scovill’s work (since 1829) was the
manufacture of buttons."

Andrew W. Pollock III also noted that the archives of Scovill
still exist, providing the following record from the National
Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC):

Author: Scovill Manufacturing Company.
Title:  Records, ca. 1790-1956 (inclusive).
Description: 321 linear ft. (942 v., 174 boxes, 81 cases)

There is much additional detail available on the web site: 
loc.gov/coll/nucmc

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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