American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society



Henry Russell Drowne

Henry Russell Drowne papers, 1884-1927
0.1 cubic feet (1 box)

Biographical note
New York City native Henry Russell Drowne (1860-1934) was a wool merchant with the firm of Laurie, Mann & Drowne until 1911 and was the son of fire insurer Henry Thayer Drowne (1822-1897). A collector of paper money, he specialized in U.S. fractional currency. After becoming a resident member of the American Numismatic and Archeological Society (later the American Numismatic Society) in 1882, he went on to serve in many positions, including historiographer, secretary, second vice president, first vice president, and secretary. In addition, he was a governor (1911-1934), sat on the council (1905-1934), and was active on several committees, including Paper Money and Publication of Medals. Drowne was charter member #59 of the American Numismatic Association, a life member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and a member of the New-York Historical Society, the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati, and the Sons of the Revolution of the State of New York, for which he wrote A Sketch of Fraunces Tavern and Those Connected with Its History (1919). He died in a fire at his home in New York City at 306 West 78th Street on November 15, 1934. Numerous tapestries, antiques, and paintings, including Rembrandts and Whistlers, were lost in the fire.

Collection
Contains the following correspondence: a letter from Thomas Cunningham on fractional currency (1888), two letters from United Stamp Company (Chicago) about envelopes that held stamps used as currency (1914), a letter from Dr. Valentine to George Blake regarding the value of a paper note (1920), a letter from Henry Chapman listing paper money found in the New Hampshire Historical Society (1920), a letter from D.C. Wismer discussing bank notes in his collection (1925), and a letter from Moritz Wormser of the American Numismatic Association regarding a paper submitted by Drowne for a convention (1927). Also includes notes, typescripts, and published versions of articles on topic such as fractional currency and the use of stamps as wartime currency. These include “Fractional Currency Information” (Numismatist 40, 1927), “U.S. Postage Stamps as Necessity War Money” (American Journal of Numismatics 52, 1918), and a handwritten draft of “Recollections of Coin Dealers and Collectors” (Numismatist 34, 1921), several pages of which were written on the back of Lawrie, Mann & Drowne letterhead. Also present are typed and corrected reports of the American Numismatic Society’s Committee on Paper Money (1922), which he chaired; a handwritten description of Drowne’s paper money collection; notes on his ancestors William Drowne and Solomon Drowne; a list of questions about fractional currency submitted to the U.S. Treasury along with a reply (1884); and numerous hand drawn illustrations and two sheets of photographs of envelopes, presumably pertaining to his article “U.S. Postage Stamps as Necessity War Money.”

Archival Collections