Last week we published several birthday wishes for Eric Newman, who turned 97. Some readers came forth with additional stories about Eric. -Editor.Dick Johnson writes:
One of the advantages of living in St. Louis was attending numismatic functions there, attending Washington University and ... getting to know Eric Newman! I choose Washington U because it was close to my home in Kansas City and also it had a massive collection of ancient coins there, the Wuffing Collection. Eric had also attended Washington U a generation earlier.
For an advertising class in business school in 1957 I choose a real project instead of all my classmates' make-believe projects. I published a Numismatic Directory. I sent out questionnaires to coin dealers and numismatic organizations, hired Walter Breen to compile a list of all the world's numismatic periodicals and typed up all this data on a rented typewriter. The advertising I placed -- real ads! -- brought in hundreds of orders. I picked up the mail before attending this advertising class. I sat in the front row, right in front of the professor, opened this mail and removed hundreds of dollar bills.
But I needed a trademark for the directory. I asked Eric what coin I should use as a trademark. "An early American coin," he said. And he lent me one for my printer to photograph -- an 1793 half cent -- one of the first of the U.S. Mint. Eric was like that -- not only willing to share his knowledge and information, but also a coin from his extensive collection as well!
I had rented a third-floor apartment near WU campus. I brought my numismatic library there from Kansas City and filled the shelves with these books and books I purchased during the years I attended college. Eric visited my apartment occasionally and our conversations were all on numismatic books. We spread books on the [sparse] furniture and floor as we talked and handled the volumes. He has often told me his intense interest in numismatic literature sprang from these book sessions.
I could recount many other occasions, but wherever I went in numismatics and whatever I did, Eric Newman could always be counted on for wise advice and excellent numismatic knowledge. How fortunate his collections are now housed in a new museum on the Washington University campus. His knowledge will continue to be disseminated for all who seek it as it has in the past. I salute Eric Newman as the great numismatist, researcher, author and numismatic bookman he is on his 97th birthday!
Barbara Gregory, editor of The Numismatist writes:
Many years ago, when I was working with Eric Newman on his ground-breaking article for THE NUMISMATIST about Benjamin Franklin and the 13-link chain design for Continental Currency, I gave him my home phone number in the event he had questions during the final stages of article preparation.
I was in my bathrobe on Sunday morning, in the middle of pouring pancake batter on the griddle, when the telephone rang. Eric wanted to talk about a few items. I explained I didnšt have his manuscript at hand and suggested we discuss the article on Monday, but he insisted on taking advantage of the moment. We settled his minor issues in about 15 minutes, and the article went on to win a Heath Literary Award.
By the way . . . Eric recently penned a short poem, "Ode to a Bibliophile," for retiring American Numismatic Society Librarian Frank Campbell. THE NUMISMATIST plans to share it with readers in the "Letters" section of the July 2008 issue.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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