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Thomas L. Elder correspondence notes on Indian friendship medal, 1912, American Numismatic Society, Archives
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Thomas Lindsay Elder was a government telegrapher assigned to the home of President William McKinley, who was dying after being shot in 1901. He began collecting coins at age thirteen after his father presented him with a small collection. He also collected Indian arrowheads, fossils, and tobacco tin tags. Elder joined the American Numismatic Association in 1899 and the American Numismatic Society in 1904. He became an Associate Member at the ANS in 1931 and remained a member until his death in 1948. Elder became a professional numismatist and conducted his first auction in 1905. He was one of the founders of the New York Numismatic Club in 1907. He contributed several articles to The Numismatist and published the Elder Rare Coin Book in 1913 and The New Rare Coin Book in 1934. He published The Elder Monthly, March 1906 to 1907, and The Elder Magazine, 1910 to 1911. Elder designed and produced a number of medals beginning in 1902, including the Indian friendship medal in 1912. He designed medals for the Osage tribe bearing his name. Edward Knox Elder was the younger brother of Thomas Elder, an Indian trader and storekeeper at the seat of the Osage reservation (Numismatist, June, 1911), the former having presented the medal as a compliment to the Osage tribe. In addition to his name (“E.K. Elder”), also inscribed on the medal is “Me-Kah-Shin-Kah,” the name given to Elder by the Osages, meaning “Little Coon.” E. W. Jermark was an Acting Superintendent of the Osage Indian Agency in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, being employed by Department of the Interior, United States Indian Service. Hugh Pitzer was a superintendent and special disbursing agent for the Osage Indian Agency in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, starting in 1909.
Three typewritten letters and one handwritten duplicate, covering the period April 5, 1912 to May 27, 1912, all concerning the presentation of Indian Friendship Medals (Indian Trader’s Medals) to the Osage Tribe. Letter dated April 5, 1912 to Thomas L. Elder from E.W. Jermark, Acting Superintendent, Department of the Interior, United States Indian Service, acknowledging Elder’s letter of March 14, 1912, provides Elder with the names of tribe members of the Osage National Council to whom Elder should send a medal each, or alternatively, send them all to Jermark and he will distribute accordingly. Letter dated May 4, 1912, to Thomas L. Elder from Hugh Pitzer, Superintendent, Department of the Interior, United States Indian Service, acknowledging Elder’s April 30, 1912, communication, which presumably contained the medals for distribution to the Osage tribe. Letter dated May 27, 1912, to Hugh Pitzer from Edward Elder in response to Pitzer’s May 18, 1912, letter in which Elder expresses his gratitude for having received a letter of thanks for the medal signed by Chief Bacon Rind and the Counselors. Includes two photographs (obverse and reverse) of the Indian Friendship Medal, undated, and six typewritten pages with biographical information about Thomas L. Elder and his ancestors, undated.