Dick Johnson submitted this follow-up to last week's request for assistance transcribing the Peale Report. Thanks. -Editor
Now that the manuscript Peale Report is in the Newman Numismatic Portal we must ask the question: Where are the Peale Report drawings?
After many conversations with fellow Rittenhouse member Craig Sholly on early U..S. Mint technology we both agreed on the importance of
the improvements brought about by Franklin Peale. We are fortunate Peale wrote a report of a two-year trip to European mints where he
learned the latest technology of coin making.
On June 17, 1835 Peale presented his 272-page report to Mint Director Samuel Moore who apparently gave Peale the green light to install
the equipment and methods outlined in his Report to improve what the Philadelphia Mint needed to bring it up to match European mints.
Craig had been to the Philadelphia National Archives and obtained a photocopy of the Peale Report. He duplicated this for me. We both
poured over our copies but we were like six-year olds trying to read for the first time. We had to read the uniform but unfamiliar script
one word at a time, often one letter at a time.
I resolved to transcribe it no matter how long it took. I accomplished 46 pages before abandoning the project, Even so, there are
several instances of words still unknown.
I wanted to see the original. Would I be able to read it easier? I traveled to Philadelphia after making arrangements to have the
document retrieved from storage. On arrival the following day custodians wheeled in a cart and handed me the Peale Report. THE Peale
Report. This was the original!
This was the Holy Grail of American Mint technology! I have examined thousands of documents in dozens of archives before. I was no
neophyte. But my body tingled at what I held in my hands.
Page after page contained that familiar Peale script. Then I realized the drawings were missing from the Report. It made reference to
such drawings but they were nowhere to be found. Apparently they had disappeared years before.
In addition to that question. Since many researchers had examined it I have a further question: A Catholic Nun had examined the Report
and wrote an article about it. Where was that article published? I vaguely recall this, but have lost the citation.
In last week’s E-Sylum a call went out for volunteers to transcribe the Peale report. Whoever accomplishes this will earn the
gratitude of a large number of numismatists interested in early U.S. Mint technology.
Len Augsburger is the Project Coordinator for the Newman Numismatic Portal He reports that three volunteers have come forward to lend a
hand, but many hands make light work, so anyone else who would like to assist in the effort should contact Len at email@example.com
. Thanks! -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
CAN YOU READ FRANKLIN PEALE’S HANDWRITING?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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