Archivist’s News (Spring 2004)

by Joseph Ciccone

This past February, the ANS formally established an archival program in anticipation of its upcoming relocation. When fully operational, this new department will serve staff and members as a centralized resource of historical information about the Society. Budget permitting, activities planned for this year include: collecting and preserving the Society’s historical records; conducting oral history interviews with individuals who have contributed significantly to the Society; creating a records management program to ensure that important current and future records are preserved; and creating an online presence so that members can access the Society’s history through the ANS website.

Preserving Our History

Much of the time since February has been spent locating and organizing the archival records currently stored throughout the Society’s 155th Street offices. This search has revealed a treasure trove of documents, images and objects, from the 1850s through the present.

Of particular note is the collection of images from Adelson’s scholarly history of the Society, The American Numismatic Society, 1858-1958. We are currently scanning these images and will include them in an image database we are developing for the Archives’ new website.

International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals, 1910. One of the recently unearthed images from Adelson’s history.

For individuals not familiar with Adelson’s work, these images include portraits of such august figures as Sidney Noe and Edward Newell. They also include images of the Society’s various early offices, as well as images of the Audubon Terrace facilities. In addition to images, we have also identified the personal papers of a number of prominent former staff. For instance, we have a significant amount of personal numismatic correspondence of Noe and Howland Wood (ANS Curator, 1913-1938). In addition, we have also located a collection, mainly slides and photographs, of Agnes Baldwin-Brett, the Society’s first female curator (Curator, 1910-13 and Associate Curator, 1936-56). These special collections – in addition to the archives’ institutional holdings – should help to document the Society’s growth.

Noe’s papers are among the personal papers maintained by the Archives. Noe served in various capacities, including Librarian, Secretary, Curator of Greek Coins, and Chief Curator.

Sydney P. Noe, 1947. Served as ANS’ Librarian, Secretary, Curator of Greek Goins, and Chief Curator.

New Website

The Archives launched its new website in March. Located at, the ANS website provides historical information about the Society.

Visitors to the Archives’ homepage will find a navigation bar to the left of the descriptive text in the center of the page. During the remainder of the year, we will be adding a variety of resources to this navigation bar, so that visitors in need of basic information can find “fast facts” about the Society’s history.

Currently, we have linked three resources to this navigation bar. The first is the “ANS Moment.” This feature provides visitors with a brief review of a timely moment in ANS history. March’s inaugural ANS Moment fittingly highlighted the birth of the Society in March 1858.

The second resource currently on the homepage is a chronology of ANS officers from 1858 through the present. In this chronology we list by their tenure the influential individuals who have served in the various positions on the ANS Council and Board.

The third link connects visitors to a text-based history of the Society. This latter information has been on the ANS website for several years; by the end of this year we hope to completely revamp this history site and provide a new site that is more comprehensive and visually appealing.

As the collections are cataloged and historical images scanned, additional enhancements will be made to the site, so keep visiting!