The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 29, July 18, 2021, Article 31


The New England Numismatic Association's official publication is NENA News. John Ferreri offered to share some articles with E-Sylum readers; thanks! Here's a token article that caught my eye - it's from the June 2021 issue. Written by Bob Hewey, it's about numismatic items issued by the George Junior Republic. Here's a lengthy excerpt - see the complete article for references and more images. -Editor

George Junior Republic tokens

The Junior Republic concept, with the motto Nothing Without Labor became reality in 1893 when William R. George established his George Junior Republic (GJR) on his farm near Freeville, NY. It was his belief that boys should learn good citizenship not just by being taught, but by through actual self-government in which the resident boys would take part in the operation of the community, earning their keep by working the farm and maintaining the facilities. It also included making and enforcing their own laws, all under adult supervision, of course.

One of the trustees of the GJR was the Rev. John Hutchins, pastor of the Congregational Church in Litchfield, Connecticut. He would speak glowingly of the Republic to others in his town. One of these listeners was Miss Mary Buel, who gave her farm, where she had lived for 87 years, and some funds for the establishment of a branch of the GJR in Litchfield.

In June 1904, eleven boys ranging in age from ten to early teens went to Freeville to live and to observe the operation of the GJR. They were under the supervision of John A. Parker, Superintendent of the Freeville Republic. In April 1905, they travelled to Litchfield to establish the Connecticut Branch. The Republic selected its citizens very carefully, based on referrals from parents, relatives, friends, orphanages, juvenile courts, truant officers, etc.

Not included were boys with criminal records or mental deficiencies. They chose boys who had initiative and strength but who were at risk due to adverse home or social conditions. They were selected because it was thought they would do well in the GJR model and become the best of citizens.

In late 1914, token money in aluminum was produced and put into circulation at the Litchfield Republic. On the common obverse was the image of a boy's head with the words Connecticut George Junior Republic arching over, the words Nothing Without Labor near the boy's neck and the date 1913 below. The reverse held an eagle with the denomination above its head between its outstretched wings. Denominations are known in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and One Dollar. A total face value of $1000 worth of tokens were struck. All except the one cent piece were in graduated sizes. The one cent and five cent pieces were of the same size.

Wages for their labor were paid to the boys with these tokens. After their weekly bills were paid (per diem costs,e.g. room and board, per boy were around $1), any surplus could be exchanged for U.S. Currency at the end of each week.

In March of 1929 paper notes were issued by the Connecti- cut Junior Republic. No information is available about the quantity or denomination of notes issued at that time.

George Junior Republic One Dollar scrip note

There is some evidence that another token type was used, represented by a single large One Dollar / $1 / Non-Negotiable piece from a CTJR former director's materials. By the 1950s the CTJR token money was no longer in use and U.S. currency was the sole means of payment. The tokens and notes are very collectible and rarely encountered.

The Connecticut Junior Republic still exists and serves many more young people than ever before. Over the years, CJR has evolved from a single location and program model serving up to 84 at-risk boys and young men to an organization offering a comprehensive continuum of care that helps more than 1,400 boys, girls, and families annually through a diverse spectrum of residential, community-based, education and behavioral health services in 11 locations across Connecticut.

For more information on the New England Numismatic Association, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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