The Spring 2008 issue of ANS Magazine has a nice article by Rick Witschonke on the American Numismatic Society's recently-retired librarian Frank Campbell. Here are some excerpts from Frank Campbell: An Appreciation of Five Decades of Service. -EditorANS Head Librarian Francis D. Campbell, who recently turned 65, and has decided to retire effective March 31, after an outstanding career at the Society spanning fifty years, fully one third of the Society's existence. Over that period, Frank has made many valuable contributions to the ANS, and leaves as his legacy the foremost numismatic library in the world.
In 1958, when Frank was in his junior year at Bishop DuBois High School in Washington Heights (Manhattan), two of his neighborhood friends told him about part-time jobs they had gotten working in the Photography Department at the ANS, and encouraged Frank to apply for an available job as well. As fate would have it, Frank was given the job of Library Assistant, and thus began his lifelong involvement with numismatic books.
When Frank took over as Head Librarian in 1975, the ANS already had a formidable numismatic library, and a clear commitment to continued growth. However, the Subject Heading List used for cataloging was in need of a major overhaul. Moreover, the entire record-keeping system was paper-based, employing a 3x5 card catalogue of the library's holdings as the primary means of searching for specific books or articles (as did most other libraries at the time). Short of visiting the Society and consulting the card catalogue itself, the only way the public could access the ANS Library holdings was through the massive Dictionary Catalogue, which was basically a printed photocopy of the card catalogue.
Frank, of course, had extensive direct experience in cataloging numismatic works at the ANS, and had also written reviews for ANS Numismatic Literature, and The Library Journal. As early as 1970, he had prepared a report outlining the needs and future direction of the library. Over the years, the ANS had developed an excellent Subject Heading List that was tailored to a numismatic library. And the ANS, unlike most libraries, cataloged not only books, but individual journal articles by author, title, and subject, providing a powerful search tool for scholars.
During Frank's tenure as Head Librarian, he has also been instrumental in bringing many important acquisitions to the Library, both through donation and purchase. These include the David Bullowa library; the many manuscripts relating to early American coinage given by Joe Lasser; the Newcomb, Clapp and Hines correspondence; the Brand inventory and papers; the Garrett archives; the Norweb collection inventory; the New Netherlands archives; the Mickley diary; the Zerbe correspondence; the many early numismatic books donated by Jonathan Kagan; the Kunz letters; and the Chapman bid books and correspondence.
These excerpts encompass just a fraction of the article, which spans Frank's entire life and career up to his retirement. Be sure to give it a read! -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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