Here's one research project I could use some help with myself. A while back I promised to write an Asylum article on George W. Rode, an early officer in the American Numismatic Association. I finally got around to starting on it this week, and quickly realized I have several holes to fill in the story. Perhaps some of you can help.
First, there's the issue of how one pronounces the name "Rode". His parentage is German, if that helps. I've always pronounced it like "Road", but "Roadie" is another possibility. This may well stay a mystery.
More importantly, I'd like to learn his birth date and confirm his date of death. These should be much easier to find now using online resources unavailable to me in 1992, when I first wrote about Rode in my history of the Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society, where he was a founding member in 1878.
Here's what I know so far, thanks to the help of ANA Library Manager RyAnne Scott and ANS Librarian Elizabeth Hahn: Rode was born in July, 1858 and died July 30, 1904.
By locating his dates of birth and death we may also discover his middle name. Just what does the "W" stand for?
Rode had a numismatic library, and I'm curious to know what all was in it. One of his books is in my library today - a bound volume one of The Coin Collector's Journal (1876).
Here's Rode's bookplate from that volume. If you have any of Rode's books in your library, please let me know. Literature dealers - if your sale catalogs mention bookplates or prior owners, please search your computer files for Rode's name.
If this book was item number 111, then it's likely there were at least that many books and catalogs in the library (probably many more). And that's a big number for a collector who died in 1904, before there were many coin books to be had. A good number of the items were probably auction catalogs.
According to a note in the July 1883 Numisma, the Woodward sale of May 2,3,4 1883 offered Rode's "collection of catalogues & etc.". He would have only been about 25 years old at the time and would remain active in numismatics through at least the 1890s, with the founding of the American Numismatic Association. Does anyone have a copy of this Woodward catalog handy?
Lastly, I'd love to locate a photo of Rode. For this, I may have to track down one of Rode's descendants. According to his obituary, he had one son and one daughter. Online Pittsburgh telephone directories list five people with the last name of Rode, so writing or cold calling them is an easy option, even if it's a likely longshot.
That's not a lot to ask, is it? OK, it is. But it never hurts to ask, so if anyone out there can help with one of these items, I'd be pleased to hear from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
To learn more about George Rode and WPNS, see:
The Early History of the
Western Pennsylvania Numismatic Society
Wayne Homren, Editor
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