The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 22, May 30, 2004, Article 5


  [The following is the second of two submissions by Dick
  Johnson on the new library of the American Numismatic
  Society. -Editor]

  Librarian Frank Campbell escorted me onto the elevator and
  we rose one floor. This is the second level of the American
  Numismatic Society's new home for the World's Largest
  Numismatic Library (on floors five and six).  Imagine! Two
  floors of numismatic books, journals, documents, data!  I had
  died and gone to numismatic book heaven!

  Layout of the sixth floor is similar to the fifth, with two more
  separate rooms. A small receptionist  room to the right as you
  enter, and a large room at the far left rear for the rare books.
  This level will be the domain of assistant librarian Barbara
  Bonous-Smit. Her office is at the rear directly above Frank's
  on the floor below. I perceive this level will be the entrance for
  visitors of the future. Sign in please.

  Shelving -- similar to the movable shelves on the floor below
  ? is at the sides like on five. Here are all the library's numismatic

  journals and all the nonnumismatic books. These are already
  shelved and ready for action.

  Study tables are intended to be in the center of the room. I
  noted the wires to be connected to outlets at the tables. Thank
  you, thank you. My laptop is so old my batteries cost more than
  a new Dell computer (and twice as heavy). I need to plug in. At
  the old library there was only one table (on the lower level) that
  had a plug hidden next to the set of Benezits behind the only
  chair to access that plug. (Only once, though, did I have to ask
  someone to move so I could do so.)

  It is the Rare Book Room on this floor that is the epicenter of
  the numismatic book world. Here will be found the one-of-a-kind
  numismatic literature, the irreplaceable documents, the nearly
  150-year old library has acquired.  [November 3, 2008 will be
  the library's 150th anniversary.]   It is inconceivable you could
  write so much as a 2-page article on any numismatic subject
  without research at this resource.

  At first glance, most of what you see in the RB Room are
  archival boxes.  Oh, what numismatic knowledge they contain!
  Frank pointed to a row of seven or eight gray boxes. ?Here is
  New Netherlands archives,? he said.

  ?Auction catalogs and bid books?? I asked of the NN archive.
  ?That plus some correspondence as well,? Frank replied, with
  mention of Walter Breen, John Ford, and others (sometime
  employees of the NYC numismatic firm, prominent in the 1950s
  and 60s).   The story is these surfaced in Charles Wormser?s
  estate, were acquired by Anthony Terranova, who donated
  them to the library.

  Overall the appearance of what is on the shelves is Clean and
  Well Organized.  Not only for the Rare Book Room but for
  the library total.  So well organized ? despite the fact the shelf
  labels are not on the shelving yet ? that Frank and Barbara
  may have less to do. You won't need to ask them the location
  of what you are looking for.

  That, plus all the holdings are on computer, even down to
  articles in journals.  (Not every article, is cited, of course, but
  citations to Coin World articles have long since passed the
  5,000 mark years ago, more than any other journal.)

  Seeing those well housed, labeled, organized, and indexed items
  ready for use ? particularly in the Rare Book Room ? made me
  think.  What in my own library should end up here?  I do have
  some rare books, one or two unique, the bid books from my
  own auction firm, perhaps some of my own files. A ten-drawer
  photo file, one file cabinet drawer of numismatic subjects,
  another of my writings.

  I made inquiry to Frank about receiving donations. I don't
  remember his exact words, but somehow it meant, ?later, not
  now.?  His routine work has been set aside for the move. He
  did state it has been weeks since he viewed his email. He
  expected it contained thousands of messages, mostly public
  inquires requiring answers.

  So for the present, don't email Frank don't call, don't write.
  He's very busy. But think of what books in your library should
  be added to the World's Largest Numismatic Library.
  Meanwhile, there is a donation book auction to support the
  Francis D. Campbell Library Chair (details elsewhere). I
  couldn't think of a better service to numismatic literature.

  The library is slated to be available for the summer graduate
  seminar (for graduate students and junior faculty) June 1 and
  open to the public June 18."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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