Elizabeth Hahn, librarian of the American Numismatic Society writes:
The following bit of news might be of interest to E-Sylum readers. In short, the ANS Library has recently acquired a hard copy of the Thomas P. Hall Colonial notebook. A microfilm of the original notebook was in the ANS Library and has recently been reformatted as a hard-copy book, making it much easier to examine in detail.
Roger S. Siboni, who gifted this hard copy to the library, was the driving force of this project. I would like to share here his description of the project as well as two images from the end of the notebook.
You will see that the first has an image of a gentleman, and I'd be curious to know if any E-Sylum readers could identify him? (Could he be Hall?). As well, speaking of preservation issues, I'd like to note that the issue of microfilm and preservation, ever present in the ANS library, will be the subject of my forthcoming ANS magazine library column, issue 2011 no. 1. Look for it in the New Year!
Thanks! And Happy Holidays to you and all E-Sylum readers!
Dr. Thomas P. Hall's Colonial Encyclopedia
Roger S. Siboni
In writing up the Collectors and their Collections chapter for the New Jersey Copper Book, I became very intrigued with some of the early collectors of Colonial Coins. While most collectors know the contributions of Crosby, Maris, Ryder and Miller, the names Stickney, Canfield, and W.W. Hays are less well known. And perhaps the least well known relative to his many contributions to the field is Dr. Thomas P.
Dr. Hall, first and foremost was a student of Connecticut Coppers. And while not trying to take anything away from Miller, it is fairly well known that Miller could not have accomplished his work without the substantial foundational work of Hall aided by Hays. Modern students of Connecticut Coppers mainly know this from the Brand Archives contained in the ANS (Brand purchased Hall's collection and notes intact) and Hall's Connecticut Notebook uncovered at the Connecticut State Library along with the famous Mitchelson collection.
But what many don't know is how extensive Hall's knowledge was of other areas of Colonials. Indeed, it was Hall who discovered more post-Maris varieties than any other individual. He, Maris and Canfield collaborated extensively with one another on New Jersey Coppers. In researching the modern New Jersey Book both Buell Ish and Jack Howes came across some notes related to Hall's notebook in the Ned Barnsley notebook while I was studying Hall. The citation they were looking for was on page 410 of the Hall Notebook. Unfortunately, when I looked at Hall's Connecticut notebook, I discovered it only had approximately 200 pages.
This was quite a conundrum. So I decided to talk it through with Robert Martin, one of the few experts on all things Hall. After some conversation and research back and forth, Robert came up with a description of a small exhibit at the 1990 EAC Convention in St. Louis on literature put together by Eric Newman. In that exhibit, there was a Hall Encyclopedia that Newman apparently acquired from the Brand Estate via B.G. Johnson, via Armin Brand. The small write-up indicated a copy was in the ANS. I quickly called Elizabeth Hahn at the ANS to scour the library for this previously unknown book to most modern Colonial collectors.
While no physical book could be found, there was an obscure reference to a Hall related document on microfilm from the 1940s from an anonymous source. Amazingly, Elizabeth was able to unearth the disintegrating microfilm and we were off to the races. Microfilm and readers are rapidly becoming as scarce as computer punch cards. But we were able to find one of a handful of people specializing in digitizing microfilm.
After some back and forth we received the Hall Colonial Encyclopedia digitized on a DVD. Because of legibility issues, it was then sent off to a graphic designer to sharpen, contrast and enlarge the pages to be readable. Then off to the bookbinder so that the copy of Hall's Colonial Encyclopedia can now safely and legibly rest in the ANS Library. Page 410 and it's previously lost content will be in our book!
By the way, the discovery of the Hall Encyclopedia did encourage Elizabeth to take on the hunt for any other microfilmed jewels in the ANS Library along with her many other duties.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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