RIDDELL RIDES AGAIN
Questioner Brad Karoleff wrote to "thank all
the people that responded to my inquiry about
J.L. Riddell. I had the information Pete Smith
wrote in his book on my shelf (and thank Pete
for the expanded information). The attached
note was the last piece of information that I was
looking for in my research. It all goes to show
that if you ask the right question in the right forum
you will get the right answer!"
Well Brad, we're not done yet. A few more
folks chimed in, and I finally found a moment to
retrieve a key reference from my own library.
Subscriber John Tidwell writes: "The final piece
of information that I can add to Pete's answer is
that Riddell served as the postmaster of the city
of New Orleans from 1860 - 1863. Prior to that
he had also served the city as a member of it's
Sanitary Commission during the study of the causes
of Yellow Fever."
William T. Gibbs, Coin World News Editor, writes:
"It was nice to see the reference to John Leonard
Riddell. I hope to write an article about him in an
upcoming issue of Coin World. I've not completed
my research just yet (a reprint of his "Monograph of
the Silver Dollar" is on my desk even as I type this),
but hope that article appears by mid-year. I'd
appreciate any help anyone can give me."
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
A final note from your newsletter editor - the single
best source of information I've ever found on
Riddell is a monograph by Karlem Riess of Tulane
University, first published in the Tulane Studies in
Geology and Paleontology (Vol 13, Nos 1-2,
September 1, 1977). The 110-page study was
also produced as an offprint by the Louisiana
Heritage Press. The study reveals Riddell as a
very colorful character, with achievements in the
fields of medicine, botany, chemistry, geology,
and physics. While Director of the New Orleans
Mint, charges were brought against him by a
former mint workman, and Riddell was convicted
of assault and battery.
As an avid reader of footnotes, I discovered
two tantalizing gems for bibliophiles: one is
a reference to a treatise that may never have
been published - "Short Historical Account of
the United States Branch Mint in New Orleans,
Louisiana, and its Operations, Together with the
The other item is a note that Riddell's diaries
were used in researching the study, and that
they are on deposit at the Howard-Tilton
Memorial Library at Tulane University in
New Orleans. Wow!
One last note - in the current issue of The Asylum,
Mike Hodder discusses the pedigrees of the
known original Confederate Half Dollars. One of
these four coins was presented to a "Dr. Biddle".
Hodder, myself, and Mark Borchart (in his 1994
monograph on "Coinage of the Confederacy")
believe this actually refers to none other than
our hero Professor John Leonard Riddell.
Wayne Homren, Editor
Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. For more information please see
our web site at http://www.coinbooks.org/ There is a membership application available on the web site. To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application. Visit the Membership page.
Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: E-Sylum Editor
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS Webmaster