The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 6, February 7, 2016, Article 14


John Lupia submitted the following information from his Encyclopedic Dictionary of Numismatic Biographiesý for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is collector Isaac Francis Wood. -Editor

Isaac Francis Wood (1841-1895), born on Thursday, July 15, 1841, in the old 7th Ward of New York City, then called the Quaker Ward, the son of Dr. Isaac Wood, M.D. (1793-1868), and his third wife Margaret Morell Hicks (1798-1873), the widow of Harvey Street. He was christened Francis Augustus Napoleon Wood. Later in life he changed his name twice: first, to Francis Augustus Wood, and second, in 1868, upon the death of his father and in his honor, as Isaac Francis Wood.

His father was the founder of the New York Institution for the Blind, and his third wife Margaret Morrell Hicks Wood. He is a direct descendent of Joseph Wood of Gloucestershire, England. His paternal grandfather was Samuel Wood of Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. His maternal grandfather was John Hicks of Hempstead, Long Island, New York. In their day the Hicks, Wooley, Seerings and Wood families were the most prominent on Long Island.

He entered Haverford College at age 15 years in 1856. He was the founder of the Haverford Alumni Prize Medal for Oratory and Composition. He was the Vice-president of the Loganian Society. He was one of the founders of the Everett Society, and Vice-president of the Alumni Association (1877) and president (1878). He graduated B. A. 1862.

He worked for William Wood & Company the leading publisher in the city and was made a partner in the firm in 1868. He retired in 1871. However he continued in the publishing industry associated with J. H. Vail, Medical Publishers, Booksellers and Importers, successors to the Jobbing and Retail Department of William Wood & Co., to at least Spring of 1884.

In order to give him perspective in American numismatic history Samuel Hudson Chapman was born on Wood's 16th birthday. Wood is an illustrious figure born immediately after the very end of Post-Revolutionary War America 1800-1840, and the very beginning of Antebellum America. Coin auction sales had become common for two decades prior to his birth.

Collecting coins and studying numismatics were subjects that certainly were salient at Haverford College and most probably when he began interest in coins and medals. His interest in finding fellow associates to collect with led him to be one of the revivers of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society (ANS) in 1864. He joined the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society on February 5, 1864 at the age of 22, and later became a Life Member.

In April 1864 he wrote to Henry Champion of the New Haven Numismatic Society regarding the catalogue of the Yale College Collection. Champion replied he never heard of the ANS, which led him to look into the matter of its incorporation. He spearheaded the nine incorporators of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society on May 16, 1865. About this time he also spread the circular of the ANS for the Abraham Lincoln Medal soliciting through the mail its sale at $5 each and 20 % discount to any agent obtaining subscriptions.

He was one of five members appointed to a committee in March 1866 to found a journal for the society, which became the American Journal of Numismatics. He served as the ANS Librarian from 1869 to 1879.

There are numerous pieces of mail between Wood and the Chapmans in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Archive, sufficient enough to produce a book about him and their transactions.

ISAAC WOOD, postal cover, 4-26-84

This is just a short excerpt - much more information is available on John's web site, so be sure to read the complete article online. Above is just one example of Wood's correspondence with the Chapmans, a letter postmarked April 26, 1884. -Editor

To read the complete article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

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