Edward T. Newell papers, 1920 - 1967

Descriptive Summary

American Numismatic Society
6 cubic feet (6 boxes)
Correspondence, notebooks, invoices, card indexes, and photographs mostly relating to the collecting and scholarly research of American Numismatic Society president and Greek coin expert Edward T. Newell.


Newell, Edward Theodore, 1886-1941
Edward Theodore Newell (1886–1941) was a U.S. numismatist. He served as the president of the American Numismatic Society between 1916 and 1941.

Administrative Information


Collection open to all researchers.

Preferred Citation

Edward T. Newell papers, 1920-1967, Archives, American Numismatic Society.


Copyright restrictions may apply. Permission to publish or reproduce must be secured from the American Numismatic Society.

Biographical Note

Edward T. Newell, the American Numismatic Society's longest-serving president and perhaps the greatest numismatist of his generation, was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1886. He attended Yale University, from which he earned his bachelor of arts in 1907 and master of arts in 1909. It was during his tenure at Yale, that the young Newell — just 19 years old — first inquired in 1905 about membership in the ANS. By 1910, at the age of 24, Newell was elected to the Society's governing Council. In 1916 he was named ANS President, a position he would hold until his untimely death in 1941. During his lifetime, Newell was considered to be the world's leading expert on the coinage of Alexander the Great and his successors. And Newell's collection — with more than 87,000 coins — was considered to be the largest private collection of Greek coins. Upon his death, Newell bequeathed this mammoth collection to the ANS. It was — and still is — the largest single donation given to the Society. Newell was a prolific author. From 1912 through 1941, Newell published more than 30 monographs, and left behind numerous unpublished manuscripts. In recognition of his contributions to numismatic writings, Newell received the first Archer M. Huntington Medal Award in 1918. In addition, in 1925, the Royal Numismatic Society awarded him its medal for "distinguished service in numismatic research." In addition to his association with the ANS, Newell also was a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society, the British Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Association. He also served as President of the New York Numismatic Club in the 1930s. Upon his passing in February of 1941, The Numismatist declared that "[Newell's] numismatic life was an ideal which others may strive to emulate." Newell was only 55 years old.

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence, notebooks, invoices, card indexes, and photographs. Much of the correspondence relates to the buying and selling of coins and the gathering of information about them (1920-1940). Some letters also have to do with American Numismatic Society business, such as the loan of Metropolitan Museum of Art coins to the ANS (1930), the resignation of a woman in charge of making casts, and ANS figures Howland Wood and Sydney Noe. There is a letter regarding Hoyt Newell Land Company business (1920), a group of letters with Greek professor Campbell Bonner at the University of Michigan, including one mentioning Newell’s being appointed honorary curator there (1930-1934), and a letter from coin dealer Hans Schulman mentioning German aggression in 1938, the year before he emigrated to the United States from the Netherlands. In addition, there are letters to Newell’s widow, Adra (1946, 1959-1964). Also includes letters and invoices from dealers such as Spink & Son (1926-1928, 1937-1940), St. Louis Stamp & Coin (1929-1940), Ram Dass & Company of India (1930-1936), and Brüder Egger (1926-1928). There are about 39 notebooks listing coins and containing notes, some with hand drawn illustrations, coin photographs, and rubbings. One is labeled “Hoard Book” and another is labeled “F. Munroe Endicott, American Legation Christiania, Record of Coin Collection, Purchases and Sales" (1908-1929). There is a set of photographic prints and negatives of Howland Wood, Edward T. Newell, Edward P. Robinson, Farran Zerbe, William S. Dewey, William L. Clark, and Sawyer McA. Mosser (1935-1936). Other older photographs are possibly related to a George W. Ball, one of which is labeled “The Old Nelson Homestead opposite West Point near what is now called Garrison.” There is a file containing a 1936 manuscript and typescript for a catalog of coins from the excavations at Beisen that went unpublished until 2008 (American Numismatic Society Magazine vol. 7, no. 3, Winter 2008), along with a 1967 letter from ANS executive director George C. Miles. Also present are card indexes, including “Alexanders – Early” and “Posthumous Alexanders”; several annotated coin sale catalogs, including one relating to Jean Babelon with loose photographs of sculptures (1898, 1923, 1936); a handwritten directory listing collectors and their collections; a list of exhibitions of Roman coins from the Newell collection (1945); and loose coin photographs.

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