American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955)

Archer M. Huntington, ca. 1905

Archer M. Huntington was born on March 10, 1870, in New York City, inheriting his great wealth from his step-father, railroad industrialist Collis P. Huntington. In 1899, the young Huntington joined the ANS, beginning an association that would last until his death in 1955.

Huntington's contributions to the ANS were both numerous and substantial. From 1905 through 1910, Huntington served as the Society's president. During that time, the Society substantially revised its governance structure, establishing a Council of Administration — the predecessor to today's Board of Trustees — and several other changes which were codified in the Constitution of 1910. Once his tenure as president was concluded, Huntington remained on the Council until his death.

During his presidency, Huntington also generously donated first the land upon which the Society could build its first headquarters and then the funding to ensure that the facilities were built. The headquarters, which was located next to the Hispanic Society of America on Audubon Terrace, was completed in 1908. Subsequently, Huntington would provide the land and finances to construct a major addition to the facilities in 1928-30, as well as provide funding to substantially renovate the building.

Huntington also helped endow numerous aspects of the Society's operations. For instance, he established trusts in 1914 and 1936 to endow the Society's general operating fund. (These trusts would be supplemented by additional funding bequeathed to the Society by Huntington after his death.)

In the early 1920s, Huntington endowed the Society's publications program with funding to establish Numismatic Notes and Monographs, a series of scholarly publications. (The small format for the series was designed by Huntington to replicate the Hispanic Notes and Monographs series he endowed for the Hispanic Society of America.) A decade later, Huntington helped fund the Society's library through a trust with the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room, whereby the ANS received funding to acquire numismatic works. And still later, in the 1940s, Huntington generously provided substantial sums of money and stock which permitted the Society to gradually expand its curatorial area from a single curator to a multi-person department.

During his association with the ANS, Huntington also generously added to the collections of the ANS, donating substantial numbers of French Mint medals and paper money, as well as contributing funds to permit the ANS to purchase other significant collections.

In 1910 Huntington was named Honorary President of the ANS, a position he held until his death on December 11, 1955.