Raphael Thian's Tomes Important|
September 08, 2011
This article was originally printed in Bank Note Reporter.
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By 1881 Raphael Prosper Thian had been chief clerk of the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s Office for a decade.(1) During this time the organization and publication of the Rebel Archives had languished. It had been 15 long years since veritable tons and tons of rebel documents and records had been carted back to Washington, D.C. by the victorious U.S. Army from various locations in the South. During this time War Department agents had rounded up and purchased supplementary documents believed to be important in telling the war’s story in full.
Combine that with the prodigious quantity of Union military records on hand, and the “big picture” of the military course of the war was yet to be chronicled. The War Department’s own printing office had published “preliminary prints” of many of the documents in its possession. These “preliminary prints,” which are still seen in archives and collectors’ hands today, were subjected in many instances to editorial revisions by participants bent on “improving” personal reputations, if not exactly content.
However, no final volumes in the long-awaited military “Official Records” series had yet appeared in print. On March 4, 1881, Lincoln surviving son, attorney Robert Todd Lincoln, became the newly installed Secretary of War. Lincoln complained of understaffing and poor financing for the Adjutant General’s efforts to bring forth the “Official Records” of the late Civil War, as this column reported earlier.
By this time, however, Raphael Thian had succeeded in bringing to publication five volumes of Confederate Treasury Department material. These were the Thian-compiled “Appendices” described in last month’s column that were compiled on his own time and printed in 1878-1880 in very small print runs by the War Department’s printing office: Thian’s “Extracts” (Appendix I, 1,103 pages, 1878), Thian’s “Reports” (Appendix III, 454 pages, 1878), Thian’s “Correspondence of” (Appendix IV, 921 pages, 1879) and “Correspondence with” (Appendix V, 1,273 pages, 1880) in two volumes. Doug Ball is the source for the information that each volume was printed in only two copies originally. I certainly have no way to dispute this. The edition was obviously small as the results of my Worldcat search published here last month readily confirm.
Although limited in number the existence of these important—albeit rare—volumes cannot be underestimated. When Douglas Ball researched in the National Archives in the 1960s, he was completely ignorant of these Thian compilations of Treasury documents and correspondence. He was even unaware of their use by previous scholars Eugene Lerner or Richard Cecil Todd. Writing in the “Foreword” to the 1972 Quarterman reprint of the Thian Register, Ball wrote: “No history of Confederate finance or history of the Civil War which touches on economic events in the South can ignore these (Thian’s) works. The reason for this is simple, as I discovered after nine months’ work in going through the same papers.” He adds parenthetically: “In my ignorance I did not know the Thian books existed.”(2)
Ball continues, “The mass of papers [from the Rebel Archives held by the National Archives] is beyond the patience of any single individual except one who is mad about Confederate finance. After I made copies of the Thian works I found that I had only 300 letters of importance which he did not have, and of these fully 200 were not available to him at the time.”(3) Elsewhere Ball says Thian’s compilations have proven “a high degree of accuracy,”(4) so much so that although “I [Ball] may have seen the original reports, letter, or ledger entries on note issues, I use the Thian books for ease of citation,”(5) Ball wrote in the “Introduction” to his excellent 1991 work Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat.(6)
Absent patient and time-consuming researches in the National Archives of the original documents themselves or more likely of the microfilm copies prepared after August 1966, they represented a mother’s lode of primary evidence for historians, economists and other scholars of 19th-century America.(7)
As elusive as the Thian volumes are, and as problematical as reviewing microfilm over extended periods of time can be, the enormity of Thian’s achievements only really became apparent to collectors in generaly with the republication of the Thian microfilm materials (Treasury Reports and Correspondence to and from the Treasury) on CD as “Records from the Confederate Treasury” in May 2004. The presentation was perfected when a more comprehensive edition appeared in DVD searchable electronic format in June 2006 as “The Works of Raphael P. Thian.” The DVD included the previous Thian publications as well as desirable additions, such as other Thian works and his personal reference albums archived at Duke University.
Collectors, and historians too for that matter, owe a great debt of gratitude to George Tremmel, Tom Carson and Bob Schreiner for these publications. Their DVD makes the Confederate correspondence readily accessible. It is one of the most important events in the history of CSA currency collecting in this writer’s opinion.
The correspondence is so much more important historically than Thian’s Register. And also the scanning of the Thian’s personal albums among the Duke University materials allows collectors, researchers, and historians the opportunity to actually examine the Thian albums page-by-page, which would be prohibitively costly for people traveling to Duke, and would subject these materials to unnecessary endangerment too, I suspect.(8)
Thian believed that the “history of the purse” was as important as the “history of the sword.” If Thian had gone no further with his personal quest to perpetuate the “history of the purse” than to publish the five volumes thus far considered he would have performed immeasurable service to history and posterity, but the government clerk had far-reaching additional goals.
Thian’s Register of CSA Debt
I suspect that most readers of this column are mostly interested in Thian’s Register, which belatedly made this obscure government clerk “famous” within the numismatic community following the reprint of the work in 1972.
By 1880 Thian was also a middle-aged, married, father of three living in Georgetown, D.C. with responsibilities. He was 50. His wife Margaret was 46. Their kids Marie (age 21), Antonia (age 19), and Prosper (age 17) lived at home.(9) The industrious, hard-working clerk Thian was looking out for himself and his family’s future. He was a workaholic and he had big plans.
Although he had anticipated publishing an Appendix II on “Public and Secret Laws of the Confederate States of America Affecting Finance, Revenue, and Commerce” at the same time as his other Appendices, this work was not published.(10) Ball tells us that Thian also anticipated publication of “Miscellaneous Papers Concerning the Financial and Commercial Measures of the Confederate States of America, embracing Governor’s Messages, Resolves of Legislatures and General Correspondence.” Likewise, he anticipated publishing “Editorials, Communications &c. on the Financial and Commercial Measures of the Confederate States of America.” Neither of these latter works were published either.
Thian did self-publish by his own hand a work he titled Illustrated Documentary History of the Flag and Seal of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, but more about that later. In all, Thian estimated his compilations, including the four Appendices already printed, would fill 7,000 pages in 10 volumes.
The failure of the War Department to publish additional Treasury Department compilations by Thian appears to be due to a change of administration within the department itself. With the arrival of Secretary Lincoln in March 1881, emphasis shifted to actually producing a legitimate work product detailing the course of the military operations of Union and Confederate armies and navies in the war.
Additionally Thian found himself with a new boss. His old comrade-in-arms Brig. Gen. E.D. Townsend, who had tolerated, encouraged, and facilitated Thian’s investigations, was gone. The old Indian fighter, and lifelong soldier, Townsend retired from military service.
In his place was Brig. Gen. Richard C. Drum, who had taken over reigns of the AG Office on June 15, 1880. Drum, too, sported a long and excellent military record, but he was not a West Pointer as was his predecessor. Drum had risen through the ranks from volunteer private in the Mexican War after a civilian career as a printer. During the Civil War he had been Assistant Adjutant General.
This change of leadership at the top of the War Department and at the head of the Adjutant General’s office was just what the baker wanted. The Rebel Archives were moved into a specialized War Records Office.
In short order the cake popped out of the oven. Capt. (later major and colonel) Robert N. Scott took over as the series editor. Then by the Act of June 16, 1880, Congress appropriated funds to print and bind 10,000 copies of the first volumes for the use of both houses of Congress and the Executive Department. Presses at the Government Printing Office spit out the initial five volumes in the Official Records Series in quick order. When Col. Scott died March 5, 1887, 26 volumes had been published, and a great deal of material had been compiled for forthcoming volumes, which would eventually total 128.
In the meantime, Thian produced the work for which he has found numismatic acclaim. He compiled and had privately published his Register of Issues of Confederate States Treasury Notes, Together With Tabular Exhibits of the Debt, Funded and Unfunded, of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, 190 pages, which appeared in 1880. This is the Thian Register that Dr. Ball convinced Al Hoch to reprint in 1972 under Hoch’s Quarterman Publications’ imprint that is familiar to most readers of Bank Note Reporter.
Ball was of the opinion that Thian’s Register “replaced” the planned Appendix II on financial legislation, but other than an in-out, zero sum game argument, Ball’s opinion makes no sense. While it’s true that Appendix II was not printed and that the Register was, all the other published appendices are numbered sequentially, and Thian’s Register was not. Also, the content of the Register is out of place in the “flow” of information interrupted by the absence of the legislative acts anticipated to be published in Appendix II.
This is an example of a writer over-reaching his data and making his facts fit his theories instead of letting his facts inform and shape his conclusions. Be that as it may, this point is hardly worth belaboring. Thian—working on his own, remember—succeeded in enumerating from available records a chronological listing of various Confederate treasury note emissions, including signers, series, and serial letter and number data. From this information, Thian was able (in part, since records he could discover were fragmentary, especially for the notes issued under the Act of Feb. 17, 1864) to compile tables calculating currency volume tables and also publish bond issue tables.
Evidence suggests that Thian worked on compiling this data from about 1875 to 1880. Some have suggested as did Ball in his “Foreword” to the Thian Register reprint that Thian did this work 1867-1881,(11) but elsewhere Ball quotes a letter written from Thian to his former boss E.D. Townsend dated Jan. 7, 1887, that states, “It is now nearly twelve years since you suggested to me that my leisure hours be given to preparing a history of the several issues of paper money emitted from the Treasury of the Confederate States, and that, for this purpose, you afforded me special facilities for examining the many books and papers which the War Department, in accordance with your singularly far-sighted suggestion, caused to be carefully collected and preserved from possible destruction.”(12)
During this same period 1875 (1867) - 1880, of course, Thian had also been occupied in bringing to fruition his Appendices, published during 1878-1880. So in aggregate, Thian’s “leisure hours” output was very productive.
Thian’s Register is an important contribution to the study of the Civil War, let alone the economics of the rebellion. To argue otherwise would be as silly as it is wrong. However, I am on record as opining that the significance of Thian’s Register was vastly oversold by Doug Ball in his understandable attempt to move books and recoup Al Hoch’s investment in the reprint publication that Ball had championed.
Accordingly Ball’s “Forward” to the reprint “sells” the virtues of the work as a counterfeit aid. “Thian’s Register of the Confederate Debt is an absolute must,” Ball wrote, “particularly for the less experienced dealer and collector of Confederate securities.” His reasoning was that inexperienced collectors could check to see that signatures and other data on observed notes corresponded to Thian’s listing. Even veteran collectors, who could be expected to spot a “fake” at arms length, could ferret out fraudulently altered notes. “Some of the Confederate counterfeits are very dangerous and have fooled even experts. One has only to look into two well-known catalogs issued in the last 25 years to see painful proof of this,” Ball suggested, not naming the works of Chase and Criswell. “Moreover,” he continued, “many collectors and dealers have lost substantial sums due to the purchase at high prices of genuine notes fraudulently overprinted with real or imaginary series numbers.”(13)
Over the years, this writer has polled many collectors of Confederate currency on this purported “detector” value of Thian’s Register. Virtually unanimously, their experience coincides with his own more limited experience to suggest a truism: Most every serious collector of CSA notes owns a copy of the Thian reprint that has gathered dust on his shelf from disuse since the initial thrill of checking out one’s new or anticipated purchases in Thian many years ago.
Although Ball buried the counterfeit detecting aspect of the Thian reprint at the bottom of his “Foreword” to close the sale, another selling point of the Thian reprint, according to Ball, was that it reproduced a rare, classic Civil War sourcebook. Ball pointed this out right off the top in the “Foreword.” “Thian’s Register…is a classic example of a rare book, there being only five copies extant,” he wrote in 1972.
This very rare volume had proven quite inaccessible to most collectors for nearly a century. Scholars and researchers could use copies in Washington, D.C. or the Duke University Library, but average hobbyists of limited means had no such recourse. The work’s exclusive information, and the rarity of the original made acquiring the reprint a great plus for institutional libraries, historical archives, university and large public libraries.
No doubt institutional sales were an important part of the business plan for the reprint. The former exclusivity was resolved when Al Hoch’s Quarterman Publications reprinted the work in 1972 with a 17-page scholarly introduction by Dr. Douglas Ball, to put the work into historical perspective. Having a $20 reprint readily available exposed a whole new generation to the pioneering work of Thian, and made his name—if not his significance—known to the hobby generally.
Judging from the numbers of Thian reprints on the shelves of university libraries and similar repositories these sales proved a great success. In fact, I first discovered Thian’s Register when I returned to study at Oklahoma State University in January 1973 after my stint in the U.S. Army. The Register was on the syllabus for Dr. Leroy Fischer’s graduate seminar in Civil War history. Fischer, who had won the Civil War Book Prize for his Lincoln’s Gadfly, Adam Gurowski, was a numismatist. We hit it off just fine.
That only five known copies of the original Thian Register existed has been a staple of Confederate currency lore and auctioneer spiel since Ball wrote his foreword in 1972. In fact, this assertion has become so well-established and ingrained in the minds of some Confederate collectors that John J. Ford, in his inimitable pompous fashion, declared emphatically that only five of the original Thian Registers were ever produced in the first place.
The appearance of an original Thian Register in any numismatic or book auction is a highlight that attracts lots of press, especially when the offering sells for big bucks to a numismatic bibliomaniac or a maniac of any other stripe.
Beginning in November 1994, the firm of Bowers and Merena commenced the auction of legendary Armand Champa’s numismatic library, which was sold at four separate sales, the last occurring in November 1995. “I knew about some of the rarities to be offered and also knew that attempting to purchase only one or two would considerably deplete my library budget,” then American Numismatic Society Librarian Francis D. Campbell noted. “Harry [Bass] knew this as well, so he called me prior to the first sale and once again offered to help, pointing out that these sales would offer items which appear ‘once in a lifetime.’”
Bass engaged numismatic bookseller G. Frederick Kolbe to be his agent at the Champa sales. Kolbe was successful in buying both of the original Thian Registers in the Champa auctions on behalf of Bass. Bass promptly donated the better of the two examples to the ANS, which of course was very grateful to acquire the rare tome. “[T]he Register was published and survives in only five copies, of which we now have one,” Librarian Francis D. Campbell wrote triumphantly in the ANS annual report.
“Through Harry’s generosity, many of these items are now in the American Numismatic Society library. To mention just a few, the library acquired Raphael Prosper Thian’s “Register of issues of Confederate States Treasury Notes,” the personal diary of Joseph J. Mickley,…” Campbell wrote elsewhere.(14)
No one living has handled more original Thian Registers than top-drawer numismatic bookseller G. Frederick Kolbe. In 1998-1999, during his sales of the Harry Bass library, Kolbe sold multi-millionaire, numismatic philanthropist Bass’s second example of the Thian Register for $11,550 (ex-Champa).(15) Bass had retained this lesser condition Thian Register after donating the choicer example to the ANS, of which he was a significant, long-term benefactor.
In another more recent transaction involving an original Thian Register, Kolbe offered one in the first part of John J. Ford, Jr.’s library sales at public auction on June 1, 2004, at The Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif. Rare publications on Fractional Currency and Confederate currency were avidly sought after in this sale. These included perhaps the “finest example known” of an original Register of the Confederate Debt. Billed as “one of only five issued,” according to the catalog and to a numismatic newsletter, Ford’s Thian sold for $35,650 on a $12,500 estimate.(16) Auctioneer Kolbe described the Ford example to the present writer as “by far the finest of the three that we have seen.” The digital image from the catalog is attached, courtesy of Kolbe. The auctioneer described the sale to this writer, thusly: “The Thian, lot 896 in the June 1, 2004, Ford Library sale catalogue opened at $10,500. We had a commission bid over the estimate, which was soon superseded. There was SO much floor bidding in the Ford sale that I am often now unable to recall many of the specifics,” he noted to this writer recently.
“I think that the Thian soon came down to three, then two, bidders who fought, good-naturedly I might add, over many of the wonderful numismatically-related CSA items in the sale. As with a number of lots, I believe that applause broke out when the hammer came down. The price realized was an impressive $35,650 including buyer’s premium.
“Please feel free to quote from the catalogue if you wish. I hope this helps,” he added.(17) The salient portion of the auction description is: “In correspondence with Armand Champa in 1983, cited in the Nove. 17, 1994, Bowers and Merena sale catalogue, John J. Ford, Jr. wrote that ‘This is easily the rarest book in American numismatics. Five copies were prepared to give to Senator Daniel W. Voorhees in late 1887, early 1888 via Secretary of War William C. Endicott. Voorhees blew the publication of Thian’s proposed 10-volume set on Confederate Finance by giving both the idea and the sample volumes to the wrong Congressional committee…”
This bald assertion is typical “know-it-all” Ford-speak. It may be based on a germ of fact, but it goes well beyond anything that Ball wrote in the 1972 “Foreword” that discusses the failure of Congress to appropriate funds to publish Thian’s masterworks.(18) Check out the dusty Thian on your bookshelf and see what I mean.
This is another case of an “authority” bending his facts to his own intents. We’re no psycho analyst for sure, however, it is sufficient to point out that the situation Ball was describing actually took place in 1888, but that Thian’s Register was printed in 1880. Ball’s confutation in the “Foreword” not withstanding, Thian’s Register was no wise “prepared to give to Senator Daniel W. Voorhees in late 1887, early 1888,” as Ford asserts. It was also NOT printed in an edition of five, either, as we shall see.
Of the generally supposed five copies known, three appear to be permanently impounded in institutional collections in the holdings of the Library of Congress, Duke University Special Collections Library (ex-Thian), and the American Numismatic Society (ex-Bass, ex-Champa). All the institutional copies are believed to be actually being there.(19) Two other original Thians are in private hands (ex-Bass, ex-Champa) and (ex-Ford, ex-Hodge).(20) According to cataloger Kolbe, one of these individual owners in prominently known in the numismatic field, and the other less well known.(21)
However, you can rewrite the history books with regard to this rare and desirable numismatic book. It is certainly desirable and rare, but it is neither the “rarest book in American numismatics” (Ford) nor apparently only extant in five original examples (Ball). It’s time to rewrite four decades of numismatic lore since Doug Ball’s Thian Register reprint “Foreword.”(22) How is this for burying the lede, i.e., the most important point of a news article given in the lede (first paragraph)? A sixth copy of the 1880 original Thian Register appears to exist, although I won’t be able to reveal more information regarding this “lost” volume until next month’s column. But if this pans out, all six of these original Thians should have been known to Doug Ball in 1972. At deadline, I am still awaiting illustrations, “hands-on” confirmations, and biographical information on the previously unrecorded owner of this “rara avis.” How’s that for a come-on? Stay tuned.
Additional Thian Volumes
As mentioned briefly earlier, in 1880 Raphael Thian compiled and self-published a work he titled Documentary History of the Flag and Seal of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865. In this volume, Thian not only reproduces legislative documents and newspaper editorials, but painfully attempts to reconstruct designs as best he could from written or printed descriptions. Plates are in splendid color.
Thian catalogs some 209 flag designs and 14 seal designs submitted to the Confederate leadership. Half of the flag designs were variations on the United States’ stars and stripes; a quarter had crosses, crescents, and the remaining quarter of the designs were idiosyncratic, including cotton plants, the sun, a horse, etc.(23)
According to Doug Ball in 1972, only two copies remained of this privately printed work, one at the Library of Congress and one at Duke University.(24) However three examples are currently listed on www.worldcat.org at Duke, Virginia Historical Society and Boston University.(25) While this “leisure time” activity was going on, Raphael Prosper Thian also had a “day job” of course. Circa 1880-1881, the War Department printed his “Charts of Military Divisions, Departments, Districts and of States and Territories, 1813-1880.” These four charts were supplementary to his opus Notes Illustrating the Military Geography of the United States, 1813-1880, published by the Government Printing Office in 1881. These charts list Army organization in three chronological periods from March 19, 1813-Dec. 31, 1860; Jan. 1, 1861-Dec. 31, 1865; January 1, 1866-Dec. 31, 1880, and a fourth shows a geographical military organization chart for the various states and territories of the United States. Worldcat lists examples of these War Department-printed charts cataloged separately at a number of eastern repositories, including the libraries at Yale, Harvard, University of South Carolina, Free Library of Philadelphia, Brown University, and Boston University.
However, many government document repositories also have these charts as deposit documents in their government deposit collections, since the original 1881 Thian volume on the Army’s organization and reorganization from the War of 1812 to his day includes the four charts printed by the Government Printing Office as foldouts to Thian’s Military organization book. Like Thian’s Register, his military organization volume was also reprinted in the 1970s. In 1979, the University of Texas Press reprinted the work with addenda, totaling 203 pages, edited by John M. Carroll with a foreword by Robert M. Utley. Editor Carroll acknowledges the assistance of Doug Ball on providing biographical information on Thian.
Recently I visited the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, the Sooner State’s state library near the State Capitol and Executive Offices in Oklahoma City, since the original 1881 Thian volume was listed among its holdings.(26) However, after a lengthy and thorough search by the a very cooperative Government Deposit Records Librarian, whose name I have unfortunately lost, the 1881 Thian volume was determined to be missing. Whether it had been shelved erroneously or actually missing was problematical, since the last record the librarian could find of its disposition was a century-old notation of its loan to a third party now since long dead, of course. Librarians on a separate floor were able to locate the library’s copy of the 1979 reprint.
Thian’s dreams of expanding his series of volumes documenting Confederate financial information did not die quickly or easily. Having found no desire within the War Department to publish his extracts on Confederate financial and commercial legislation (his erstwhile Appendix II), in summer Thian approached an outside publisher, James J. Chapman of Washington, D.C. with an even more grandiose proposal.
Thian proposed to publish all the legislation of the late Confederate Congresses not just the financial and commercial legislation. The proposed title of this volume was as lengthy as its scope. In the style of the era, Thian’s compilation was to be called “The Statutes at Large of the Provisional and Permanent Governments of the Confederate States of America, from the institution of the government, Feb. 8, 1861, to March 18, 1865, inclusive, arranged in chronological order, together with the constitution for the provisional government, and the permanent constitution of the Confederate states, and the treaties concluded by the Confederate states with the Indian tribes.” Thian was to be listed as the work’s editor.(27)
The publisher solicited subscriptions for a volume, with a projected size of 1,200 pages and a $10 price tag. Chapman placed ads and the got editorial notice of the trade publications Publishers’ Weekly in July 1886 and Bookmart in August.(28) The publisher may even have gone to the trouble of printing up sample books. We’ve seen many such salesmen’s sample books from this period that are generally of the same size and binding as the work being sold, often with a few printed pages in the front showing the work’s title and describing its projected contents, followed by bound, cut and trimmed blank pages.
By fall 1886, the projected publication seemed to be getting off the ground. Publishers’ Weekly’s trade list of upcoming titles carried a notice for Chapman’s Thian’s CSA statute volume in its Sept. 25, 1886, issue. Unfortunately for Thian, it appears that enough subscribers for the venture failed to materialize. It’s suspected this was because the Confederate Congresses had already engaged their public printer to print most of the Statutes at Large during the war. So Thian’s projected work was never published.(29)
To be continued…
A Personal Note
As always, I welcome feedback from BNR readers. We cover a lot of ground in this column, and it’s surprising what sparks the interest of individuals. Questions, comments, cheers or jeers are welcome. You can contact me through my personal website www.fredwritesright.com or by mail at P.O. Box 118162, Carrollton, TX 75011-8162. If you write and wish a reply, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope, but please be aware that if your subject is of interest generally it may be addressed in a future column instead.
1. According to Ball, Thian was appointed chief clerk to the AG on July 1, 1871. We have additional information to supplement Doug Ball’s biography of Thian published in the “Foreword” to the 1972 reprint of Thian’s Register. According to Ball, Thian was a civilian clerk on the staff of General-in-Chief Winfield Scott from shortly after his resignation from active duty military service on Sept. 1, 1853 “to take instead a position with the general’s civilian staff. In due course, Thian was appointed a Clerk second class and remained with his aging mentor until November 1, 1861, when General Scott retired.” Douglas Ball, “Foreword,” Register of the Confederate Debt by Raphael Thian, Lincoln, Mass.: Quarterman Publications, Inc., 1972, p. v. Then according to Ball, Thian with catlike agility landed on his feet with a job in the Adjutant General’s office. Ball wrote poetically: “It was here that Thian showed some of the same cat-like ability to land on his feet that his father had shown earlier.” ibid. We have discovered this listing in the 1860 edition of Trow’s New York City Directory: “Thian Raphael P. clerk, 114 W. 11th, h. 7 Cornelia.” This seemed odd since we would have presumed him to be in Washington, D.C. on the eve of the Civil War in the employ of the General-in-Chief of the United States Army. Looking into this matter more closely, in the 1861 New York directory the same entry appears. In the 1862 directory Thian is listed as still residing at 7 Cornelia, but no occupation is given. Conversely in the 1859 New York City directory, the listing reads “Thiam [sic] Raphael P. clerk, 114 W. 11th, h. 7 Cornelia.” This is doubtless another reference to Raphael P. Thian. Who else was at 114 W. 11th St. during this time? Winfield Scott, U.S.A[rmy] and his aide Henry L. Scott, U.S.A[rmy]. Ball tells us further that Thian was promoted to clerk fourth class “by April 1, 1864,” so he must have removed to Washington D.C. c. 1862, but it is clear that he lived and worked in New York City from at least late 1858 when the 1859 directory was compiled to at least sometime in late 1861 or thereafter. Note, in the 1862 directory in which Thian lists no occupation, the Scotts, still “U.S.A” (Winfield and Henry L.) list 86 W. 11th as their place of work. When opportunity beckoned with the increased requirements of the military effort during the Civil War, Thian followed the work to the seat of government and Army headquarters in Washington, D.C.)
2. Ball’s admission of his ignorance of the Thian compilations is uncharacteristically self-deprecating.
3. Douglas Ball, Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat, Chicago & Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991, pp. x-xi. Ball’s assertion that he found additional “important” letters not found in Thian is self-serving, but his added information is an intellectually honest admission that many of these extra letters had not been available to editor Thian when he put together his compilations in the late 1870s.
4. Douglas Ball, Financial Failure, p. 305.
5. Ball, Financial Failure, p. 305.
6. Douglas Ball, Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat, Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991. My copy of Doug’s opus was autographed by him to me on May 14, 1992, according to the inscription, in his cluttered office at R.M. Smythe “hot off the press.” Doug’s “hot” book certainly shook up the professional CSA elite. Written by a PhD and published by a mainstream university press, Financial Failure and Confederate Defeat penetrated the consciousness of Civil War historians in a way no hobby press book could have ever done.
7. When the request was made of the National Archives and Records Service on Aug. 12, 1966, to reproduce the 3,751 pages of Thian’s five published volumes, a notice on the General Services Administration Form 61-1723 read: “NOTE: These are extremely RARE books printed by the War Dept. for its use. One of them is the only one in existence; another is one of only two known copies, etc. If they cannot be filmed without physical harm to them, do not process this order… Call when Job is completed = Want to pick up”[.] The original GSA duplication form is reproduced in the microfilm copy of the Thian Appendices.
8. I referred to these materials in the column last month, but unfortunately provided out-of-date information on ordering instructions for them. The CD has been discontinued, and is no longer available. The DVD is priced at $85 plus $2 postage to U.S. addresses. Payment should be made payable to Bob Schreiner and sent to him at P.O. Box 2331, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2331.
9. 1880 U.S. Census.
10. Students of Confederate history are aware that the entire Journals of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, were eventually printed in seven volumes in 1904-1905 as Senate Document No. 234 of the U.S. Serial Set, 58th Congress, 2nd Session. As one who has studied these volumes, the present writer actually read through them in their entirety as a graduate student in Civil War history in 1973-1975. These journals include the secret and executive sessions as well as the open public sessions of the Confederate Senate and House of Representatives.
11. Ball, Thian Register viii.
12. Ball, Thian Register, pp. ix-x.
13. Ball, Thian Register, p. xvii; Ball was thinking of John C. Brown and others.
14. Francis D. Campbell, “Harry W. Bass Jr. – A Remembrance,” from “Dedication of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Library,” ANS, Winter 2003, adapted, with permission, in The Asylum, Spring 1998.
15.Wayne Homren, “Numismatic Literature Sales Record Set,” E-Sylum, Vol. 2, No. 47, November 21, 1999.
16. E-Sylum, Vol. 7, No. 23, June 6, 2004.
17. G. Fredrick Kolbe to Fred Reed, May 31, 2011.
18.See Ball, “The Failure of the Government to Print Thian’s Work,” Thian Register, pp. xiii-xiv.
19. The Library of Congress call number for their Thian is HJ254.T4. Interestingly, according to a search of SIRIS (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System) on July 12, 2011, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries have four copies, two photocopies of the 1880 edition, a 1962 Library of Congress microfilm reel of the 1880 edition, and the 1972 Quarterman reprint.
20. G. Frederick Kolbe to the author, May 31, 2011.
21. Kolbe wrote, “ To the best of my current knowledge, the two copies in private hands belong to American collectors… One of these gentlemen is well known; the other is more private,” ibid.
22. “Thian’s Register of the Confederate Debt is a classic example of a rare book, there being only five copies extant,” Doug Ball, Thian Register, p. [iii].
23. Greg Biggs, “Southern Battle Flags -- more myth making,” http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/cwflags/ webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=5521.
24. Ball, Thian Register, p. xiii.
25. A check of the Virginia Historical Society online library catalog confirms this volume in the organizations’ Rare Book Collection. The VHS catalog also lists two copies of the pamphlet “Debate Concerning the Motto to be Used on the Seal of the Confederate States.”
26. 1881. W3.2: G 29, 182 pages w/charts & maps. Four charts.
27. Publishers’ Weekly, July 3, 1886, p. 3.
28. Publishers’ Weekly, July 3, 1886, p. 3; Bookmart, August, 1886, p. 107.
29. Records of the provisional and permanent Confederate Congresses are contained in NARA Record Groups 109.3 and 109.4. After the turn of the century, in 1904-5 the 58th United States Congress published the journals of the Confederate legislature.However, it wasn’t until 1941 that Duke University Press published the laws and joint resolutions of the last session of the CSA Congress, Nov. 7, 1864-March 18, 1865, together with the secret acts of previous Congresses. This work begun by Duke’s Dr. William Kenneth Boyd was completed and brought to fruition by Dr. Charles W. Ramsdell of the University of Texas.
More Coin Collecting Resources:
• Confederate States Paper Money
• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin Books & Coin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program
• Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition
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