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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 15, April 13, 2008, Article 9

QUERY: ASYLUM EDITOR CARLING GRESHAM

Pete Smith writes: "Today I received the April issue of the
Numismatist. The typeface shows 'the' in lower case letters
so it is 'the Numismatist,' formerly 'Numismatist,' formerly
'The Numismatist,' formerly 'The American Numismatist.' It is
good to see the ANA making progress backward.

"Page 93 lists an 'In Memoriam' entry for Carling Gresham.
He was at one time editor of our print journal, The Asylum.
I can't recall hearing anything of him for a few years. I
wonder if any of our E-Sylum readers can bring us up-to-date
on Gresham."

[Denis Loring also noticed the item about Gresham.  I haven't
heard anything of Carling in ages.  Here's a colorful description
of Carling's character from Joel Orosz' history of the Numismatic
Bibliomania Society. -Editor]

President Wilson finally acted to shake the Society out of
the doldrums, and found a figurative dynamo to serve as the
new editor of The Asylum. Carling Gresham, a Florida dealer
in numismatic ephemera, and an early enthusiast for the use
of the personal computer, went to work with a will, and the
first issue of The Asylum under his editorship was dated Summer,
1984. A colorful character, Gresham transformed the journal by
adopting a chatty and informal style.

He proved adept at inspiring new contributors; both Joel J.
Orosz and Wayne Homren, for example, first published in The
Asylum during Gresham's tenure. Carling also managed (with the
aid of one double issue) to get the journal on a regular
publishing schedule. His lively editorial comments skewered
everyone; even co-founder Kolbe was not immune. When George
moved from Mission Viejo to the higher elevation of Crestline,
the editor delightedly referred to him as 'Mountain Man Kolbe.'
The regular appearance of The Asylum sparked a revival in the
fortunes of the Society, and membership began to grow. The
second dawn for the NBS, however, was destined to have but
a short life.

As much a part of Gresham as his energy and wit was his pride;
and it was that pride that led him to be quick to utter and
publish decided opinions. One such opinion, expressed about
the editor of The Numismatist, caused a storm that ultimately
cost Gresham his position. In an editorial appearing in the
Summer, 1985 issue of The Asylum, Carling blasted off a salvo
at the lack of coverage the NBS had received from hobby
publications, concentrating his fire particularly on The
Numismatist, ' Where HRH [His Royal Highness] Harris [N. Neil
Harris, editor/publisher] won't print anything about NBS!'

Gresham went on: 'HRH appears to be one of a number of
employees at ANA Hq. who believe that we, collectors AND
dealers are working for them NOT the other way around.'
(Gresham, as can be seen in the passage just quoted, was
fond of capitalization for the purpose of placing emphasis
on an idea.)

To read the complete history of NBS 1980-1997, see:
History of NBS

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

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Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

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