Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing forwarded this release about the new book by Dick Doty.
Whitman Publishing announces the release of a new book by Dr. Richard Doty, senior curator of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection. Pictures From a Distant Country: Seeing America Through Old Paper Money, a 296-page hardcover with dustjacket, retails for $24.95 and will be available from bookstores and hobby shops nationwide in April 2013. It can also be ordered from online book sellers, including at www.Whitman.com.
“For much of our nation’s history there was no federal currency in circulation,” Doty observes. “Instead, currency was issued by private banks and other businesses.” These pieces of private money, called obsolete bank notes, form the basis of his narrative. Doty interprets what their designs and images tell us about the United States of the 1800s—the “distant country” of the book’s title. Hundreds of detailed close-ups illustrate his engaging text, exploring how Americans viewed women, children, family, the workplace, the frontier, slavery, racial minorities, new technology, entertainment, and our national identity. “A finer view of life in America in the early 19th century could not be imagined,” says Q. David Bowers in the book’s foreword.
Doty’s ten main chapters are illustrated mostly with individual vignettes and enlarged bank-note engravings. In the back of the book, a 147-page appendix shows at full size the notes discussed in the text, cross-referenced to the narrative. A five-page index, organized by state, city, and bank, also links researchers to individual notes.
“My great love of this type of currency and my deep respect for its (largely) nameless engravers made this book possible,” said Doty. “If ever there were a case of standing on the shoulders of giants, this is it.”
It’s a beautiful book; Dick’s narrative is supported by enlargements of the vignettes he discusses, and in addition to those close-up images we’ve pictured every note in its entirety in an appendix. Paper-money collectors will be delighted, of course, but I believe the book will interest mainstream history lovers as well.
For more information, or to order, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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