Archivist’s News (Summer 2004)

by Joseph Ciccone

I am thrilled to report that we have completed the transfer of archival records from 155th Street to our new home on Fulton Street. In the past three months, we have searched high and low in our old headquarters and managed to locate more than 500 cubic feet of historical records. (A cubic foot is about the equivalent of a standard storage or banker box.) These records were stored throughout the old building, sometimes in less-than-ideal conditions. We then supervised the transfer of these records downtown, where they now reside in acid-free containers organized according to subject. Our efforts in this regard have been ably assisted by Aviva Gray, who has been working with the archives and curatorial departments since February, and our summer intern, Katherine Siboni. (To learn more about Katherine’s experiences from her own perspective, see her piece in this issue.)


Archival records stored in the sub-basement at 155th Street.


Katherine Siboni, left, and Aviva Gray, right, in the new archives room at 96 Fulton Street.

With the move now complete, we have begun processing the various collections. One of Katherine’s responsibilities has been to inventory the earliest boxes of correspondence. These date from 1858 and include the invitation to the Society’s first meeting, but multiply significantly starting in the early 20th century. Among the many intriguing finds revealed by Katherine’s inventory is a series of correspondence between the Society’s staff and J. Sanford Saltus. These letter document Saltus’ efforts to invigorate the Society’s medal program through the sculpting of medals for memorable occasions like the visit of the Prince of Wales to the US in 1919 and the endowment of a medal award for distinguished achievement in the field of the art of the medal.


Letter from J. Sanford Saltus to Archer Huntington, endowing the Saltus Award Medal, 1913.

Much of this initial inventory should be complete by the early fall, after which we will begin to enter this information into a database we are currently designing and eventually intend to place online as part of the archives’ website.

Web Site Enhancements

As I mentioned in my last column, we have established a website for the ANS Archives at http://www.numismatics.org/Archives/Archives. At the time of its launch, the site contained basic descriptive information about the archival program, as well as a listing of former and current ANS officers.

Since the last issue we have added two more resources to this site. The first is a history of the Society’s awards program. It is located at http://www.numismatics.org/Archives/Awards. This section includes a brief summary of the two awards that the Society confers, the Archer M. Huntington and J. Sanford Saltus Medal awards. In addition, it provides a complete list of the winners of each of the awards.

The second resource is a history of the Society’s premier educational program, the Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics. This resource, which is located at http://www.numismatics.org/Archives/GraduateSeminar, allows visitors to review the history of the Summer Seminar and learn who attended and/or lectured in any given year, as well as view images of the participants. We plan to further enhance this site within the next few months with the addition of an online database of student papers. We have already designed and populated this database and shortly plan to create the user interface.

Integrated into both new resources is biographical information on significant ANS officers and staff. For instance, visitors interested in learning more about either Archer M. Huntington (ANS President, 1905-09; Honorary President, 1922-55) or Margaret Thompson (ANS Chief Curator, 1969-79), merely have to click wherever their names appear in the new sections. Visitors will then be hyperlinked to brief biographical statements for each. During the next few months we plan to significantly increase the number of such online biographies.