Today's issue marks the anniversary of the first issue of The E-Sylum, which was published on September 4, 1998. Below is an excerpt adapted from an article published last year by Kerry Rodgers. -Editor
In the mid 1990s Wayne Homren hoped to start an email newsletter for members of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, a group founded in 1979 to promote the study and collecting of numismatic literature. Every year at the group's annual meeting he asked for a show of hands to see who else had an email account.
At first cataloguer Michael Hodder was the only other person to raise a hand. As they exchanged email addresses the others looked on like they were witnessing some secret ritual. In subsequent years a few more hands went up. Finally at the 1998 meeting in Portland, OR nearly every hand went up. Wayne grabbed a tablet of paper and passed it around to collect email addresses. On September 4, 1998 the first issue of what is now called The E-Sylum was published in an email message to 49 people. As the word spread subscription requests arrived from around the world and by September 15 there were 90 subscribers.
The original announcement noted "This is intended to be a moderated, low-volume mailing list, with no more than one message every week or so. Its purpose and use will evolve over time - please send us your comments and suggestions."
The E-Sylum has evolved into a weekly forum where "numismatic bibliophiles, researchers and just plain collectors" congregate to exchange information and ideas about numismatics and numismatic research. Most of the top numismatic authors, curators and collectors around the U.S. are subscribers, as well as a number from around the world. Today each issue is read by over 1,100 subscribers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. It's been described as a weekly cocktail party of the world's top numismatic minds.
A typical issue could have anywhere from 15 to 30 pages of material arranged loosely into sections containing Numismatic Bibliomania Society news and announcements, numismatic literature sale announcements, book publication announcements, reviews of books and auction catalogs, answers to previous research queries, new research queries, excerpts of newspaper stories relating to numismatics, a humorous numismatic story and a Featured Web Site.
Topics are all over the numismatic map - anything interesting is fair game, and obscure topics are welcomed. Over the years subjects of discussion have included contemporary newspaper accounts of new coinage, biographies of numismatic authors and personalities, celebrity numismatists, numismatic ne'er-do-wells, the largest numismatics books, the most expensive numismatic books, counterfeiters, alternate currencies, rare medals, sunken treasure, archeological finds, and coins placed under a ship's mast or on a cadaver's eyes.
As I wrote last year on our 10th anniversary, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Frankly, I was hoping to show the society and other numismatic organizations what could be done with the new technology, hoping that someone else would pick up the baton at some point.
Well, other organizations have developed online newsletters, and many were inspired by what we've created in The E-Sylum. But I'm still here every week, pounding out another issue. I'm having too much fun to stop.
My readers are what keep me going - you folks are the best any editor could dream for. Keep those submissions coming!
To read our first complete E-Sylum issue, see:
The E-Sylum: Volume 1, Number 1, September 4, 1998
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
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