Harry Waterson submitted this review of Dick Johnson's new book, Who's Who Among American Medallists. Thanks! -Editor
Dick Johnson's: Who's Who Among American Medallists. The Artists of Our Country's Coins and Medals 1652 to Date. by D.
I am sure the book did not start out this way but today it is an interactive catalog of mostly American medallists. The Who's
Who is the book with artists listed from Aarons, George Manual to Zorrilla, J and 4,000 others in between. The bios reflect years of
compiling data about each artist. Some are quite complete and some are placeholders awaiting more information when available. The book
answers the question; Who? The website www.MedalArtists.com answers the question; What? The
website is where every artist's work is briefly described and illustrated if possible. By its very nature this is a work in progress,
the Wikimedallica of the medal collectors world.
The book arrived in August and I will forever be digesting it. I have been researching one medallist and compiling a catalog of his
works for the past 14 years. To compare what Dick Johnson has accomplished to my efforts let me use a stairway analogy. He has reached the
top of the Washington Monument and defined the landscape. I am still climbing to the top of a five-flight walk-up. In the Bronx.
This is a first edition of a book that will see many more editions as biographical information is acquired and updated, and a website
that will migrate from one digital format to another to remain accessible as it expands and multiplies.
A careful reading of the forward is necessary for the reader to really understand the breadth of the concept described here. Not just a
book, not just a website but a marriage of the codex of yore with the informational web platform of tomorrow. It is my hope that the
members of the medal collecting community who are often knowledgeable in one small area of Ars Medallica will share that knowledge with the
rest of the community via this book/cat-web/cat. Dick Johnson is a generalist and has devoted his life to this grand conjunction. If each
of us added our own 2 cents the end result would explode geometrically.
Medallist. On his copyright page Dick Johnson deals with the spelling issue of this word for the designer of a medal. He has opted to
use the double L in 'medallist.' This is an elegant solution to spelling 'medallist' in the tradition of The
'Medallic' Art Company and the Society of 'Medallists.' This leaves 'medalist' to the winner of a competitive
event. Spell check awarded me a redline under medallist whenever i typed it out until I just added medallist to my dictionary and, poof,
the redline went away. Of course, if we all lived in France, they have a perfectly good word, i.e. Medailleur, who is the designer of...,
not the winner of.... But then that would be a book of a different cover.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: WHO’S WHO AMONG AMERICAN MEDALLISTS
Wayne Homren, Editor
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