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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 19, May 9, 2010, Article 5

TRIP REPORT: LEN AUGSBURGER VISITS ANNAPOLIS AND WILMINGTON

Len Augsburger submitted this update on his research and recent visits to Annapolis, MD and Wilmington, DE during the recent Early American Coppers convention. -Editor

During the recent EAC in Annapolis I was able to make a side trip to the Hagley Library in Wilmington. This was carefully timed so as not to miss John Kraljevich's excellent walking tour of old Annapolis. I had been to Annapolis probably half a dozen times to do work at the Maryland State Archives for the Baltimore gold hoard book, but such was my monomania that I had only visited two places in the city, the Archives and a pizza place in the strip mall a little bit west of there.

The dignity of that book was such that I could not discuss how great the pizza was, fortunately The E-Sylum has enough latitude for such digressions. Did I mention that the pizza was really good? There were great documents in the Archives, too.

But it was all superseded by John's walking tour, which included the Charles Carroll house (a plaque bears a reproduction of the Charles Carroll medal by Christian Gobrecht), and the possible "first Mint" of the United States, where the Chalmers pieces may have been struck (later at the EAC, Will Mumford gave a fascinating talk about his excavation of the property, which uncovered a Chalmers piece buried in the cellar).

Now on to Hagley - this is the old DuPont family library, now open to the public, and the grounds are spectacular. The reading room would make Thoreau proud - curators bringing old books on one side and a floor to ceiling view of unspoiled countryside on the other.

Hagley has a strong collection of industrial trade catalogs, and I had known for some time that they had a number of early Frank H. Stewart Electric Company catalogs which are probably unique - not even present in Stewart's personal papers at Rowan University. These lent some additional insight on the early days of the company (prior to their acquisition of the first U.S. Mint building in Philadelphia), but the real prize was something I found by sheer luck while cruising their online catalog prior to visiting.

Catalogued as an "account book of the chief coiners of the United States Mint," hopes were raised that this was the long lost first account book of Henry Voigt from 1792, obliquely referred to in Snowden's Mint Manual (1860) and missing ever since. I didn't get that lucky, but what we have here is a personal account book of Voigt which indicates a business relationship with Adam Eckfeldt, outside of the Mint, personal loans to John Reich, and a possible accounting of Jefferson inauguration medals (Julian PR-2).

Henry Voigt personal account book

The book was acquired by Hagley in the 1960s - where it was before that is anyone's guess, although certain notations in the book suggest it stayed in the Voigt family. Further study is underway and will be published in due course. I can't imagine anyone (with the possible exception of Eric Newman!) would have found this without an online catalog, and we are fortunate to live in the era where all these resources are first appearing and we get to be the ones to harvest them.

Joel Orosz adds:

If there is such a thing as a bloodhound of numismatic research, his name is Len Augsburger! Not even Bob Julian knew of the existence of this ledger before Len unearthed it.

Congratulations to Len on a great research find! He's quite correct that these are great days for researchers - as museums and libraries get their collection catalogs online it's becoming much easier to learn what exists and where to find it. But there's no substitute for traveling to inspect the items in person.

By the way, since Len mentioned Eric Newman, and he's got a birthday coming up. On May 25 he'll be 99! Go, Eric!

Below is some more information on the Hagley, which sounds like a great resource. -Editor

Hagley Museum and Library collects, preserves, and interprets the unfolding history of American enterprise. Hagley is located on 235 acres along the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware.

The Hagley Library is the nation's leading business history library and archives. It is organized into five departments: Manuscripts and Archives, Pictorial Collections, Imprints, Conservation, and the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society.

Hagley’s collections document business activities since the late eighteenth century as well as the interaction between business and the cultural, social, and political dimensions of our society. Researchers come to Hagley from all over the world to use our resources in studying a wide array of subjects, as business records and personal papers are relevant for many interests and projects. Travel grants are available to support research visits.

To learn more about the Hagley library, see: About the Hagley Library (www.hagley.org/library/about/)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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