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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 47, November 19, 2006, Article 12

NUMISMATIC RESEARCH AND THE ONLINE BROOKLYN EAGLE 1850-1900

As a side note to the above article, Joe Ciccone writes: "The
Brooklyn Eagle you reference is actually a great resource for
more than just information on Balmanno. An archivist colleague
of mine at the Brooklyn Public Library developed the system,
which now contains text-searchable copies of the Brooklyn Eagle
from 1850-1900. The Eagle was Brooklynís most widely circulated
paper at the time.  Iíve found it to be a terrific resource when
I want to get certain types of information, such as biographical
information on someone who living and/or worked in Brooklyn.
Just as important ó itís free!  The URL to the Brooklyn Eagle
Online is: brooklynpubliclibrary.org."

[I entered a few queries into the site and found it very useful.
"Specie Panic" located the full text of a July 10, 1862 article
on the Civil War coin shortage.  "John Gault" found several
references to the inventor of U.S. Encased Postage Stamps, such
as an article which listed him as a mourner at the 1882 funeral
of Cornelius J. Vanderbilt, inheritor of part of his father's
vast fortune.  They just don't write newspapers like they used to.
The article opens: "Hundreds of women bestirred and fully toileted
themselves earlier than usual this morning and hastened from all
parts of the city to the Church of the Strangers..."

The Brooklyn Eagle archive is useful not just for New York-area
information but for national topics as well.  For example, "United
States Mint" generates quite a number of articles, including a July
2, 1885 report about a missing $1 million in bullion at the New
Orleans Mint, and an August 11, 1901 report on the arrest of Walter
Dimmick, former chief clerk of the San Francisco Mint for the theft
of $30,000 in gold.

In other crime news, a September 21, 1858 article tells the story
of the "desperate attempt of a robber of the U.S. Mint to escape."
James Moore, under arrest for sealing several slugs of gold, was
being transported by train when he asked to go to the water closet,
where he crawled through the window and leapt from the train.  He
didn't land gracefully and was soon picked up by the authorities.

A brief item from December 2, 1852 notes: "A few days since a
deposite was made at the United States Mint, of gold dust from
Australia, the first, we believe, that has been convered there
(sic)."

A June 1, 1867 article notes that "Nickel cents are being
purchased at the United States Mint. Only those from 1857 to 1864
will be received.  The purpose is the reduction of the excessive
circulation of nickels, and the distribution of three and five cent
pieces, in which coins payment will be made."

On March 11, 1896, an article began "The Goddess of Liberty is going
to enter the holy bonds of matrimony.  Not the ideal goddess, but the
one whose face adorns the silver dollars turned out by the United
States Mint.  In private life she is Miss Anna Willeas Williams, and
she is a Philadelphia school teacher."

This is a marvelous online tool for research on U.S. numismatics.
As I've pointed out before, there is a huge amount of numismatic
information waiting to be uncovered in historical newspapers.  The
era of painstakingly hand-searching through bound volumes or
scrolling through microfilms is gradually coming to an end as more
and more institutions digitize collections such as these.  (Gawd,
technology makes me feel older every day!)  Check out the site and
enter your own favorite queries!

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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