Is There a Doctor in the Bush?

Back of the current A$20.00 note from the Reserve Bank of Australia featuring Rev. John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

With the current worldwide medical emergency ongoing, I looked for medical related depictions on paper money. Sadly, I could find none. While Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, was on a Clydesdale Bank of Scotland note and numerous politicians who were also physicians appear on notes, I could find no depictions related to the medical field on paper money.

The closest representation is on the current $20.00 note from Australia which depicts Rev. John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, on the back of the note. Flynn was a Presbyterian clergyman who missioned to the scattered communities of the outback. He published The Bushman’s Companion in 1910 as a guide to help those in remote communities with basic needs.

The vignette to the left of John Flynn shows a Flying Doctor Service De Havilland taking off from Broken Hill, NSW in 1948.

Flynn dedicated his life to serving the scattered populations in Australia and sought ways to use new technology to this advantage. Flynn founded a number of bush hospitals and frequently made public appeals for their support. A letter from a WWI pilot, Lt. John Clifford Peel (who died in service in 1918), inspired Flynn to raise money to create an airborne medical service for the outback.

The image on the far right of the note depicts a pedal powered radio transceiver invented by Alfred Traeger which sped communications among the far-flung outback communities. Prior to its use communication was by telegraph – a cumbersome way to transmit medical information.

By 1928, Flynn had raised enough money to commence regular service. Using a De Havilland DH.50 provided by the Queensland and New Territories Air Service, the first flight took off in May of that year. The organization was originally named the AIM Aerial Medical Service. By 1932 a nationwide network of flying doctors was organized and the name was changed to the Australian Aerial Medical Service. In 1942, the name was changed to the Flying Doctor Service. In 1955, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the royal monicker on the service.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has over 60 aircraft in use today and more than 1,000 employees providing medical services throughout Australia.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the face of the note. It depicts Mary Reibey, a pioneering Australian businesswoman. Born Mary Haydock in England, she was orphaned at a young age. She was sentenced to transportation to Australia for stealing a horse at the age of 15. She married Thomas Reibey when she was 17 in 1794. Thomas started a cargo service on the Hawkesbury River which prospered. After he died in 1811, Mary expanded the enterprise to include eight commercial vessels and sizable commercial holdings in and around Sydney. She died in 1855.

The Dewey Home Fund – A Crowdfunding Scandal

Stereo card of Admiral George Dewey’s home at 1747 Rhode Island Avenue in the District of Columbia. Money for the home was raised through public donations as a gift of appreciation to the Admiral. (Library of Congress)

A grateful nation cannot do better than provide liberally for Admiral Dewey’s comfort in a home fitted to his tastes worthy in some measure of his services and indicative in a small degree of the gratitude which is not of a day but of all time. A popular subscription will afford all the privilege to join in such a testimonial in which patriotism will have a monument. . . . On his return from the scene of his victories and his statesmanship the official duties of Admiral Dewey will be performed in Washington. He should have a home there. . . . It is for a home for Admiral Dewey in Washington that subscriptions are invited. . . . Subscriptions may be sent at once to the Treasurer of this fund at the Treasury Department, Washington, DC. Temporary receipts will be promptly returned and as soon as it can be prepared a duplicate of the same date and number bearing a fine portrait of Admiral Dewey will be forwarded to every subscriber

Excerpts from the announcement of the formation of the Dewey Home Fund Committee

It undoubtedly seemed like a good idea at the time. A group of prominent American officials formed a committee to accept donations to purchase a home for Admiral Dewey upon his return from the Philippines in 1899. The Committee consisted of Assistant Treasury Secretary Frank A. Vanderlip, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles H. Allen, Brigadier General Henry C. Corbin, Assistant Postmaster General Perry S. Heath and Treasurer Robert H. Ellis.

Bismarck Tribune, October 12, 1899.

The appeal received wide publicity throughout the country and regular updates were published. Over $60,000.00 was raised from approximately 44,.000 contributors. Most contributions were a dollar or less. Major newspapers, civic groups and other organizations made sizable donations. The names of all the contributors were hand inscribed in a three volume set of books that were presented to the Admiral.

Goldsboro (N.C.) Daily Argus, October 17, 1899.

The Committee chose a house at 1747 Rhode Island Avenue. It cost $50,000.00 and was purchased just before Dewey returned in September 1899. In early November 1899, Dewey married his second wife, Mildred McLean Hazen, widow of General William Babcock Hazen. His first wife had died shortly after the birth of their son in 1872.

The World, November 23, 1899.

Their honeymoon was short-lived. In mid-November 1899, it was learned that title to the home was transferred to Mrs. Dewey. As word spread — aided by partisan newspapers who were trying to squelch talk of Dewey running for president — many contributors became upset.

Cheap shots in the Atlanta Constitution from November 1899 regarding the Dewey Home Fund.

Hundreds of letters were sent to Robert Ellis’ office in the Treasury Department from contributors demanding their money be returned. On November 24, 1899, John R. McLean, Mrs. Dewey’s brother, announced that the Dewey’s would return contributions to anyone who requested it. How much was actually returned was not reported.

Wisconsin State Journal, November 22, 1899.

What was not widely covered was the fact that on the same day that Admiral Dewey transferred the house to his wife, she conveyed it to his son, George Dewey, Jr., retaining the right for her and the Admiral to occupy the residence.

Receipt for a donation to the Dewey Home Fund. The receipts were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The BEP Director’s Report for 1900 indicates 1,565 sheets of these receipts were printed.

Coming in Like a Lion

It is March and in the northern hemisphere we have the phrase that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. It has hardly been lion-like weather here in northeast Wisconsin so far this month as we have been in mid-30s F so far and may hit 60 on Sunday.

But I want to talk about lions, not the weather. Although currently only native to Africa and parts of India, depictions of lions appear on banknotes from many different countries.

This note from the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the early 1960s depicts a lion overlooking the Ruzizi river outflow from Lake Kivu on the border with Rwanda.

The Central Bank of Kenya chose a pride of lions for the back of its first issue twenty shilling note.

The arms of the Bailiwick of Guernsey which appear on the back of this one pound note from 1963 contain the three lions associated with the English monarch.

The State Emblem of India as shown on this Gulf rupee note depicts the Lion Capital of Ashoka. The original is in the museum at Sarnath and dates to 250 BCE.

The Lion of Judah was associated with the Emperors of Ethiopia. It is the central figure on the back of this E$100.00 note from the 1960s.

This final example is the newly released HK$50.00 note from the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. It depicts one of the two lion statues that sit outside the bank’s offices in Hong Kong. The HSBC offices in Shanghai and London have similar statues. The Hong Kong lions were installed in 1935. The Japanese confiscated them in WWII and brought them to Japan to be melted down. The war ended before this could happen and the statues were returned to Hong Kong. They still bear scars from the fighting in the city in 1941. One of them was recently set afire during protests in Hong Kong.

This type of topical collecting is an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy collecting banknotes. The variety of subjects depicted on notes is large and most can be acquired with little financial outlay.

Bissextile is not a dirty word.

It is just the fancy word for a leap year.

From Wikipedia: From Latin bisextilis annus (“bissextile year”), from bisextus + –ilis, from bis- (“two; twice; doubled”) + sextus (“sixth”) + dies (“day”), from the Julian calendar’s original reckoning of its quadrennial intercalary day as a 48-hour February 24, subsequently distinguished as the two separate days of the sixth day before the March calends (sexto Kalendas Martii) and the “doubled sixth day”. February 24 is now normally understood as five days before the first of March, but was called the sixth by the Romans owing to their inclusive counting of dates.

There are not many numismatic items associated with leap year. Shown are two of the three that I have encountered. The first is a one Scottish pound note from the British Linen Bank dated February 29, 1968. The other is a $25.00 US War Savings Bond with an issuing agent’s date stamp of February 29, 1944.

The only other numismatic item I know of with this date are the unissued Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas notes printed during the Japanese occupation which have an authorization date of February 29, 1944.

General Benjamin O. Davis

Pay check dated June 30, 1903 for Second Lieutenant Benjamin O. Davis of the 10th Cavalry Regiment.

Benjamin O. Davis was the first African-American to hold the rank of general officer in the United States Army.

He was born and raised in Washington, D.C where he attended high school and was enrolled at Howard University.

First Lieutenant Davis’ entry in the Index of Spanish-American War service records.

He entered military service in July 1898 as a temporary first lieutenant in the 8th United States Volunteer Infantry, an African-American unit, for the Spanish-American War. He served stateside during the war and was mustered out on March 6, 1899. In June 1899, he enlisted as a private in the 9th Cavalry Regiment. He served as the clerk for I Troop and later as squadron sergeant major.

He was encouraged to apply for a commission by Lieutenant Charles Young, the only serving African-American officer. Young encouraged Davis’s ambition to become an officer. He sat for and passed the exams in early 1901. On February 2, 1901, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry in the Regular Army.

The entry for Second Lieutenant Benjamin O. Davis in the June 1903 Return of Troop F, 10th Cavalry.

In the spring of 1901, he went overseas with I Troop to the Philippines. In August 1901, he was assigned to Troop F, 10th Cavalry, which was also in the Philippines. Troop F returned to the US in August 1902 and was posted to Fort Washakie, Wyoming.

In September 1905, he went to Wilberforce University as a Professor of Military Science and Tactics. He remained there until 1909 when he was appointed military attache in Monrovia, Liberia. He returned to the United States in 1911 and was again assigned to Troop I of the 9th Cavalry.

In February 1915, he returned to Wilberforce University. From 1917 to 1920, he was back with the 9th Cavalry in the Philippines. He was then assigned to Tuskegee Institute as the professor of military science and tactics from 1920 to 1924. Between 1925 and 1937, he rotated through instructor positions at Wilberforce, Tuskegee and with the Ohio National Guard.

He was assigned to the 369th Regiment of the New York National Guard in 1938 and became its commander shortly thereafter. He was promoted to brigadier general on October 25, 1940.

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Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis in France in 1944.

He was made commanding general of 4th Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division in January 1941. He then served as an advisor on Negro Troop Policies in the Office of Inspector General. From 1941 to 1944, he made inspection tours of African-American units in the US and Europe.

In November 1944, he was assigned as special assistant to the commanding general, Communications Zone, European Theater of Operations. He then served with the Inspector General’s Office in the European Theater of Operation.

He returned to Washington, D.C. in 1947 as assistant to the inspector general and was then assigned as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Army. On July 20, 1948, he retired in a public ceremony six days prior to President Truman ordering full integration of the armed forces.

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General Davis’ marker at Arlington.

He died on November 26, 1970 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company.

The main office of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

It is Black History Month in the United States so over the next couple weeks I will highlight numismatic items with connections to the history of African-Americans. This first installment concerns the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company.

On March 3, 1865, Congress created the Freedman’s Bureau to provide financial and other assistance to newly freed slaves and other African-Americans. The Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (otherwise known as the Freedman’s Savings Bank) was chartered by Congress at the same time as a depository institution for African-Americans. The bank was intended to serve two purposes: (1) be a safe place for African-Americans to park their money, and (2) provide employment and training opportunities for African-Americans in the world of finance.

Liquidation check from the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company made payable to William Carpenter. His family was originally from Stamford, CT. He was 13 years old in 1872 when he opened his account at the Savings Bank. The bank records show that his father lived in Elizabeth, NJ and his mother at a different address from him in New York City. The records also indicate that a teacher helped him open the account.

The Freedman’s Bureau promoted the Savings Bank heavily and within months of opening the Savings Bank had thousands of customers and millions of dollars on deposit. A total of thirty-five branches in seventeen states were opened. This initial success was short-lived, however.

The Panic of 1873 reduced yields on government bonds, the primary investment vehicle used for the Savings Bank’s assets. Because the bank was chartered directly by Congress, there was no oversight by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Inexperience, mismanagement, speculative investments and outright fraud by some of the Savings Bank’s directors further damaged the Savings Bank’s already precarious position.

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The Treasury Annex stands on the site of the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company. The building was re-named in 2106 as the Freedman’s Bank Building to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Savings Bank.

Congress finally took action in late 1873 and brought in the OCC to examine the Savings Bank’s affairs. It was too little, too late. The board of directors gave control of the Savings Bank to Frederick Douglass in March 1874 but not even a person of his stature could turn it around. The Savings Bank and all its branches closed on June 29, 1874.

Final liquidation check issued to Harry Fauntleroy of Richmond, VA
in 1883. His records are discussed in more detail below.

The liquidation of the bank did not proceed very quickly. Liquidating distributions to the depositors began in 1875 but the final dividends were not paid out until 1883. Depositors received no more than $.62 per $1.00. Many received nothing at all because they could not be found or could not adequately assert their claims.

The Freedman’s Savings Bank may not have succeeded as a financial institution, but its records are a treasure trove of genealogical information from a period when documentation of African-Americans is spotty at best.

The Savings Bank records for Harry and Albert Fauntleroy of Richmond, VA shown above identify the genealogical information found in the records. The information includes the place of birth, place raised, current residence, occupation and family information. Harry’s entry only has Albert listed as a brother but Albert’s entry shows a sister named Mary and four brothers who had been sold prior to 1861.

The records of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company are held by the National Archives in Washington, DC. They can be found in Records Group 101 among the records of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. A limited number of the Savings Bank’s records are available on ancestry,com.

Numismatics and Football

It is Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately, aside from privately made medals there is no numismatic recognition of American football. Instead, I will do a survey of the numismatics of real football which will be addressed by its American name, soccer.

Despite the fact that it is the most popular sport in the world, soccer does not have a large numismatic footprint. Many countries, particularly the host nations, have issued commemoratives for the World Cup or the Olympics but there are few general circulation pieces that depict the game.

I have been a referee for many years and have traditionally used a soccer themed flipping coin. (The exception to this was 2018 when I used the medallion from a British WWI Merchant Marine Service Medal). I have given many of them away and have only two coins left.

One is this commemorative fifty cent piece for the 1994 World Cup held in the United States. I was unable to attend any of the matches that summer as I had just started a new job and work demands kept me home. Four year later and 6,500 miles away I attended my first full international when I saw Australia v. Saudi Arabia and Brazil v. Mexico in the King’s Cup in Riyadh. (This was an interesting experience on many fronts not the least of which was the absence of two things we take for granted at sporting events in the United States — alcohol and women.)

The other coin is this English fifty pence commemorative marking the 2012 London Olympics. It is my favorite soccer related numismatic item. While most sports related coins depict an action shot, the English chose a graphic depiction of the offside rule for the reverse of the coin. Illustrations of the offside rule take up more pages in the rule book than any other the laws of the game. The Royal Mint could have issued an entire series of coins depicting the many different permutations of the rule.

There are a few banknotes depicting soccer. The above two notes are from Congo and Kenya and depict the national stadiums in each of those countries.

The Ulster Bank depicted Irish footballer George Best on this 5 pound note from 2006. Best is regarded as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. He died in 2005 from complications from a liver transplant.

The Bank of Russia issued a commemorative 100 ruble note marking the 2018 Men’s World Cup. While I despise its vertical format, it was one of the most striking notes issued that year. The face of the note depicts Soviet-era goalkeeper Lev Yashin. The note is one of the first banknotes to feature a QR code. Scanning the code leads to a website that explains the security features of the note.

The final piece is a hand engraved medal depicting a footballer in action on one side. The other side contains the inscription “Tjimahi ’42”. Tjimahi was the site of a Japanese run internment camp in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) during WWII. The significance of the medal is unknown.