Mint Director Cannot Acquire the Mint Report
During a recent tour of the Wayne Homren library, Wayne shared an original copy of a January 25, 1849 letter from Mint Director Robert M. Patterson to Representative Charles Brown (D-PA). Patterson wrote “I see that my Annual Mint Report for 1848 has been presented to Congress, and it will, no doubt, be printed, as heretofore. May I then ask a favor of you? It is that you will preserve for me as many copies as can be spared. I know that the number usually printed is small.”
Newman Portal previously scanned a draft of this letter in the National Archives. In this version, Patterson added a second request, which has been struck out: “Let me also ask you another favor, to send me any bills that may be printed.” This likely referred to bills related to the Mint, but Patterson apparently felt the second ask was too much.
Patterson’s request is remarkable – even while leading a large, distributed operation producing millions of coins per year, he was not able to get a printed copy of his own report without working his personal contacts in Congress. Patterson’s connection to a Pennsylvania congressman is not surprising, as he was born in Philadelphia, earned his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1808, and later joined the Penn faculty.
Link to draft of Robert Patterson January 25, 1849 letter to Rep. Charles Brown on NNP: https://archive.org/details/Rg104Entry1Box28year1849/page/n25/mode/2up?view=theater
Link to U.S. Mint Reports on Newman Portal: https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/publisherdetail/51