Obituary: Dr. Marie H. Martin 1942-2002

by Dr. Michael Bates

The Staff and Council of the American Numismatic Society were saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Marie H. Martin, former ANS Editor, on Monday, December 9, 2002. Dr. Martin was sixty at the time.

Marie began her association with the ANS in 1978, when she was a member of the Graduate Seminar. In the following year she came to work as Assistant Editor and was subsequently promoted to Associate Editor. In 1983, she left for the business world, but in 1985 she returned to the Society, and was made Editor in 1989. She left us at the end of October 1999.

Although she made her living as an editor, Marie was a trained historian. Her academic specialty was the medieval epoch in India. Her Ph.D. thesis at the University of Michigan, Bahmani Coinage (full title below), included the results of her research in our Graduate Seminar, as well as materials gathered during several years of research in India, Iran, and Europe. She published a number of articles on the subject. Marie was an active member of the ANS and the New York Numismatic Club. She served as its President in 1990-91.

Her friends knew her as a gifted raconteur, whose stock of stories was largely drawn from her extensive international travels. Perhaps she became addicted to life abroad as a high school senior, as a result of a scholarship for the International School of America’s travelling study program, which took her, along with a small faculty and other students, from one American school to another in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, during the academic year 1959-60. The group spent a few weeks in many different locales, living with local families; New Delhi was one of them.

On her return she matriculated at Grinnell College in Iowa, where she received her BA in History in 1964 with a four-year Yonker Honor Scholarship. Almost immediately, she returned to India with a Grinnell College Travel/Service Scholarship to live and work at Ahmednagar College in Maharashtra as a Hostel Supervisor. She continued her stay with two years as a faculty member and boarding unit supervisor at the American International School in New Delhi.

Upon her return to the U.S., she enrolled as a graduate student in history at the University of Michigan, supported at first by a three-year National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship in Persian. The NDFL program also supported her in a summer program for intensive study of Hindi/Urdu at Michigan State University. Meanwhile, she obtained her MA in 1969. She spent the summer of 1970 in Teheran, for study and practical experience of Persian, as well as travel through the country. She was accepted as a Michigan Ph.D. candidate in 1971.

In 1972 she left for India again with a Fulbright-Hays research grant. After three months in London at the Oriental Manuscripts Room of the British Museum, she went on to Ahmednagar College, which served as her base for two years. From there she traveled in search of manuscripts and mentors to Bombay, Poona, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Bidar.

Back at Michigan, she obtained a job as editor at the Center for South and South East Asia Publications to support herself while writing her thesis. She gave up this job to attend the ANS Graduate Seminar, and then returned to Michigan for a year, finishing up her thesis, before obtaining a place as Assistant Editor at the ANS in 1979. Her thesis was submitted in final form in 1980. Although Marie was never able to revise it for publication, arrangements are in progress for a facsimile edition to be published in India.

On Sunday, December 15, there was a crowded reception in Marie’s small apartment on 181st Street. As President of her co-operative apartment building for ten years, she knew everyone there; about thirty-five neighbors attended, as well as approximately thirty friends from her numismatic life, including a re-union of many ANS colleagues from the eighties and nineties, some of whom drove hundreds of miles to be there, plus friends from the New York Numismatic Club. The reception was hosted by her close friend Mary Marks (better known to many as Mary Davis, until her recent marriage) and her sister Lynn Kunz.

The family and close friends have agreed to establish a fund at Grinnell College, Marie’s alma mater, to perpetuate her memory. Those who wish to make a gift to this fine college in Marie’s name should make out the check to “Grinnell College” and indicate on the memo line that it is sent in memory of Marie H. Martin. Checks should be sent to:

Alumni Relations and Development
Grinnell College
733 Broad Street
Grinnell, IA 50112

The accompanying image is Marie’s Presidential Medal from the New York Numismatic Club, sculpted by John Di Lorenzo, ANS 1992.47.1.

Publications by Marie Hamilton Martin

“The Shuhur San: date equivalencies, origins and special problems,” in Epigraphia Indica: Arabic and Persian supplement, 1971 (ed. Z.A. Desai; Delhi, 1977), pp. 81-106.

“An epigraphical study of the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri,” in Challenges of societies in transition (ed. M. Barnabas, et al.; Delhi, 1978), pp. 339-358, 366-371.

Bahmani Coinage, and Deccani and North Indian Metrological and Monetary Considerations, 1200-1600. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan, 1980. 255 Pp. University Microfilms 8025724.

“Bahmani metrology and the currency reform of the 1420s,” Journal of the Academy of Indian Numismatics & Sigillography 4 (1981-82), pp. 35-47.

“Bahmani coinage,” in Islamic heritage of the Deccan (Bombay, 1986), pp. 14-15.

“The reforms of the sixteenth century and Akbar’s administration : metrological and monetary considerations,” in The imperial monetary system of Mughal India (Delhi, 1987), pp. 68-99.

“Golconda numismatics: currencies in circulation,” in Golconda and Hyderabad (Bombay, 1992), pp. 143-152.

“Nizam Shahis,” Encyclopedia of Islam v. 8, fasc. 131-132 (Leiden, 1993.), pp. 73-75.

“Parallels in coinage and architecture: the Bahmani kingdom,” A Treasury of Indian Coins (Bombay, 1994), pp. 79-88.