The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 53, December 16, 2003, Article 21


  Chris Fuccione writes: "Great newsletter.  You were writing
  about how old timers should be interviewed to preserve their
  story.  Further down you mention Bill Dewey. Has anyone
  contacted him about his story?  It would be a great story."

  Nolan Mims writes: "Steve Pellegrini has an excellent idea in
  preserving the recollections of major numismatists and has made
  a good start to a list of persons deserving of recognition.  One
  who should definitely be included is Eric Newman.  Although
  many noted numismatists are deserving, I would have a hard time
  choosing those to honor."

  Dick Johnson writes: "I sincerely appreciate the kind words
  by Steve Pellegrini in last week's E-Sylum. What Steve
  proposed ? sending mini-recorders to selected numismatists
  for their recollections ? is one method of gathering information
  (often used with aged family members in genealogical research).
  What is better, of course, is a one-on-one interview. In effect,
  creating an Oral History.

  If the interviewer is well prepared, has done his homework
  in advance, to determine the questions and sequence to ask,
  he can guide the direction of the response instead of a rambling
  discourse of questionable value. Ask the right questions and
  you can get the data you are seeking -- and often, a whole lot

  This came to mind recently for Donald Scarinci and myself
  on a research trip to Cape Cod and the Boston area. We
  were interviewing people for the book Don is writing on
  The Society of Medalists. We interviewed the widow of
  one sculptor (Ralph Menconi), my old boss at Medallic Art
  Co (Bill Louth), a couple who managed the Society for a half
  dozen years (the Crams), and one sculptor (Mico Kaufman).

  The first three were most successful. For Mico Kaufman,
  however, the taped record is a disaster.  Mico was so
  excited his mind jumped from one subject to the next. He
  started a new sentence before he finish the last. He wanted
  to give us so much information it was difficult to stay focused.
  Also there were six people in the room. Often there were
  more than one person talking at the same time (myself
  included).  It became difficult to direct the interview (and
  impossible to transcribe).

  I have been interviewing people for print since I was 18.
  For a high school journalism class ? and with more gravitis
  than my youthful age warranted ? I interviewed the editor
  of the Kansas City Star. In my mind he was like a journalism
  god. I entered that newsroom, it was the size of a half city
  block, as if this was the Holy Grail.  His desk was in the
  center of that newsroom, no private office, he was in the
  midst of all the action. But he was so kind to me, his responses
  were so great, the interview literally wrote itself.  He set the
  tone and gave me confidence for my interviewing for the rest
  of my life.

  I never feared people in  high positions after that. I learned
  I could approach anyone, numismatic biggies included, and
  sincerely show an interest in what they had to say.  After all,
  everyone is an expert on themselves, their work (and their
  collections!). And most people will talk about all (for hours
  if you let them).

  I remember an early interview of Reverend Arthur Braddan
  Coole, who built a fantastic collection of Chinese coins and
  compiled the ?Bibliography on Far Eastern Numismatics? and
  the ?Encyclopedia of Chinese Coins.? The interview was
  published in the Kansas City Kansan, the paper I was
  working for at the time (despite the fact I was in the advertising
  department). It was published the same month I received the
  letter from the publisher of the Sidney Press to come to Ohio
  and start a coin publication (which resulted in Coin World).

  Steve, if you want interviews of prominent numismatic
  personalities. I'm ready. If you have a motor home and can
  spare the time, I've got a computer and a tape recorder. We
  can travel the country together and interview whomever you

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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