American Numismatic Society early correspondence, 1853, 1858-1908

Descriptive Summary

American Numismatic Society
3.5 cubic feet (13 boxes)
Contains the earliest official correspondence of the American Numismatic Society.

Part of an 1865 letter of inquiry about the Society's Lincoln Medal


Belden, Bauman L. (Bauman Lowe), 1862-1931
Bauman L. Belden (1862-1931) of Cranford, New Jersey, served the American Numismatic Society as librarian (1891-1896), secretary (1896-1903, 1905-1916), director (1909-1915), and council member (1906-1928). He sat on several Society committees, including the Committee on Indian Peace Medals, which he chaired. He was the author of Medals and Publications of the American Numismatic Society (1915), Indian Peace Medals Issued in the United States (1927), and A Mint in New York (1930). He was a member of the American Numismatic Association and was active in the New York Numismatic Club. At the time of his death he was working on a project involving life saving medals.

Administrative Information


Collection open to all researchers.

Preferred Citation

American Numismatic Society early correspondence, 1853,1858-1908, Archives, American Numismatic Society.


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

Scope and Content Note

Contains the earliest official correspondence of the American Numismatic Society (known as the American Numismatic and Archeological Society from 1864 to 1907). Includes some handwritten copies from Augustus B. Sage, the first corresponding secretary (1858); some handwritten copies in other years (e.g., 1865); a letterpress copybook (1905) and other outgoing copies (1906-1909) from recording secretary Bauman Beldon (1896-1903); and two letterpress copybooks (1874-1896), which include indexes of correspondents, that were kept by recording secretaries William Poillon (1873-1886) and Henry Russell Drowne (1886-1896). The letters document the growth and activities of the Society during a period when it was governed by an unpaid volunteer staff of members and had no permanent home. (The Society moved into its Audubon Terrace headquarters in 1908 and hired its first professional staff in 1909.) Topics include the routine management of members; the issuing of medals, including the Society’s first, which commemorated Abraham Lincoln (1866-1868); the rental of rooms for the society’s business; gifts such as coin cabinets, coins, and books; the development of the numismatic collections; the purchasing of materials for the library, including some librarian’s reports; and matters pertaining to the American Journal of Numismatics. There is only a single letter from 1853, regarding Carolus or “old head” dollars, whose significance regarding the Society is not immediately apparent.

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