(Pelham, Alabama) — In November 2019 Whitman Publishing will release In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion. The 352-page hardcover volume will be available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide, and online. Here, author William Bierly gives thanks to the many people and institutions that helped him in his research.
There are so many organizations and people to whom I am indebted for assistance in the writing of In God We Trust that I am sure I will unintentionally and inadvertently neglect some. Please forgive me for such omissions.
First I must acknowledge the indispensable assistance provided me by the Central States Numismatic Society. The organization’s leaders and members have had my respect for many years as I participated in their excellent program of exhibits and presentations. As I was giving thought to writing a book on the topic of how “In God We Trust” came about on our coinage I became aware of their program of grants for authors. Ray Lockwood, their education director, encouraged me to apply and I was fortunate enough to receive their assistance. That grant enabled me to travel for research and get far more deeply into the details of the story than I otherwise would have been able to do. CSNS’s educational programs and outreach are, in my opinion, unmatched in the numismatic community.
I had collected pattern coins beginning in the 1970s and focused on those of the Civil war era, particularly those of 1861, 1862, and 1863 bearing the motto “God Our Trust” and those termed “transitionals” of 1863, 1864, and 1865. I collected them without understanding their origins or historical backgrounds. By the mid- to late 1990s I began to realize there was a story behind these coins. Around this time I became acquainted with John Kraljevich through our mutual friend John Pack. Kraljevich, learning of my interest in this story, provided me with a copy of an undergraduate paper he had written while at the University of Virginia. The paper was entitled “Relieve Us from the Ignominy of Heathenism: The Significance of the National Motto on United States Coins and Currency.” He had used the archives extensively in his writing. The paper was a revelation to me as I realized there was archival material available through which the story could be explored and told. John’s paper, as much as anything, got me on the path to my book.
I took the opportunity of a trip to Philadelphia in about 2000 to travel out to Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, and the Prospect Hill Baptist Church from whence Reverend Mark Watkinson in 1861 wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase proposing a religious reference on the coinage. There I acquired a book written by Keith Lockhart, a local historian. The book, A History of Ridley Township, provided information about Reverend Watkinson. Later I contacted the church to seek further material. Ron Lindenmuth, the church treasurer at that time, provided me with a very helpful local newspaper article from 1964 which contained detailed information about Watkinson as well as useful summaries of the church’s history.
As I worked to learn more about the historical religious context of the Civil War I visited the Indiana University library in Bloomington several times. The staff was most helpful in assisting me in locating sources about the Great Awakenings. They also provided copies of certain Mint director reports. As I became more serious about writing the book and received encouragement and the grant funding from CSNS I traveled to Milton, Pennsylvania, Mint Director James Pollock’s hometown. I met with George Venios and Jessica Hess. George and Jessica have been active in the local history of Milton; they wrote a small book about Pollock and his role in “In God We Trust.” The information they provided me was invaluable. Also, George told me of the Pollock family archive located at Penn State University. I visited this archive twice and gathered insights into Pollock’s life; this contributed significantly to my book. The staff there, at the Special Collections section of the Penn State library, went above and beyond the call of duty in helping me.
As for Reverend Watkinson: Besides material provided by the Prospect Hill Baptist Church, I was able to visit the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, located on the campus of the University of Richmond. The Society’s research assistant, Darlene Slate Herod, generously provided me access to the Minute Book of the Court Street Baptist Church, where Watkinson had been during a crucial period early in the Civil War. I also traveled to Portsmouth, Virginia, where the Court Street Church is located. The pastor there, Dr. Wilbur Kersey, was most helpful and kind to me. He has been at the church since 1959. He and his wife Katharine have established a highly regarded elementary and middle school in conjunction with the church. I was able to join the congregation for a Sunday morning worship service and was very much impressed with Dr. Kersey’s sermon. I am certain Reverend Watkinson would be proud that his former church is in such capable hands.
Early in my writing process, I met Kevin Flynn, the writer of numerous numismatic books. He gave me much guidance and advice. I found his books useful in my own research as they contain many archival letters relating to the story.
As the writing of the book took shape, Gerry Tebben, a longtime friend from Columbus, Ohio, reviewed what I had written and gave me encouragement to keep going. Later Dennis Forgue, a friend knowledgeable in U.S. currency, read my chapters dealing with Civil War–era money and gave constructive and encouraging comments.
Most important, as I neared completion of the book, Bob Julian most generously spent time with me discussing it and reading it in its entirety. He greatly encouraged me to drive toward its final chapters. His knowledge of the archival records of the Mint and Treasury is probably without peer. He provided me with letters written among Chase, Watkinson, and Pollock previously unknown to me and unseen in any earlier literature of which I am aware. I am very grateful to him for his help and encouragement.
I belong to several numismatic organizations. My fellow members of the Chicago Coin Club have been supportive and helpful during this entire process. In particular, fellow member Bob Leonard gave me great advice based on his writing experience and most helpfully introduced me to Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing. Also, fellow members of the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists have been extremely generous in the research for this book. In particular, Tom Uram of PAN introduced me to George Venios in Milton, leading me deeper into the story of James Pollock and the origins of “In God We Trust.” Tom also introduced me to Mike Fuljenz, who has done good work on the story of the national motto.
I also want to thank Len Augsburger for keeping an eye out for material relevant to the motto as he did research at the Smithsonian and other places for his own writing. He went out of his way to provide me with items he ran across.
I also want to thank family member (cousin) David Cramer for his willing assistance on various technical computer issues that I encountered during the writing of this book. I would have thrown in the towel in frustration several times without his knowledgeable and patient assistance.
Tom Mulvaney, from whom I took a coin photography class several years ago at an ANA Summer Seminar, has become a friend and willingly photographed a number of my pattern coins for inclusion in the book.
To the above people and many others unnamed I express my deep appreciation. Without them, the book would have been impossible.
In addition to Mr. Bierly’s acknowledgments, Whitman Publishing would like to thank the following for their help on In God We Trust: Mark Borckardt advised on Mint director portraiture. Q. David Bowers reviewed the entire manuscript and provided valuable feedback, in addition to writing the foreword, sharing several historical images from his personal archives, and granting permission to access the archives of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Artist Barry Brown Jr. created portraits of Reverend Mark Watkinson and of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, two diametrically opposed personalities in the story of “In God We Trust.” The Bureau of Engraving and Printing provided several images. Some philatelic images are from the Estate of Bernard Heller. Emily Hemming, associate director of media relations for the Wharton School, provided image-research assistance. Heritage Auctions shared images from its numismatic archives. Robert W. Julian shared portraits of Treasury officers from his collection. McKenzie Lemhouse, library specialist at the South Caroliniana Library, assisted with image-hunting advice. Liberty Presbyterian Church, Delaware, Ohio (DeAnne Miller, communications coordinator), provided an image. The Library of Congress was invaluable as a source of diverse historical imagery. The National Archives and Records Administration provided several images. The New York Public Library provided several images. The Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection, National Portrait Gallery, and National Postal Museum each provided images. The Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (Thomas Uram, president, and Patrick McBride, journal editor) provided images. The Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee (Hayley Moyer, retail/office administrator) provided a portrait. Stack’s Bowers Galleries generously opened its image archives of coins, tokens, and paper money. Swarthmore College (Friends Historical Library; Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, archivist) provided portraits of Joseph Wharton. Jon Sullivan of Sullivan Numismatics shared an image. Saul Teichman (uspatterns.com) shared information and images. The United States Mint provided several images. The University Archives and Records Center of the University of Pennsylvania (J.M. Duffin, senior archivist and office manager; and Timothy J. Horning, public services archivist) assisted with image research on Joseph Wharton. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Stacey Stachow, manager of the museum shop and rights and reproductions coordinator) provided an image. Sydnei Wheat was important in the book’s image research and gathering.
By William Bierly; foreword by Q. David Bowers
Hardcover, 6 x 9 inches, 352 pages, full color
Retail $29.95 U.S.
About the Author
William (Bill) Bierly was raised on a farm near Walkerton, Indiana. As a child, he heard stories from his grandparents about two of his great-grandfathers who had served in the Civil War. This led to a lifelong interest in that war and that period of history. At about age eight, he began collecting coins from circulating change. Following high school Bierly attended Northwestern University for two years and then completed a degree in sociology and economic development with a minor in Chinese studies at Indiana University. He then worked in India for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a dairy development project. Back in the United States, his interest in coins was rekindled. He soon went abroad again, working for three years in Osaka, Japan. Then in the United States, he operated a small business for five years, sold it, and entered graduate school, earning an MBA in finance from Indiana University and embarking on a 25-year career in commercial banking. With his overseas experience, Bierly focused on international banking, particularly Japanese corporate business and Asian correspondent banking. He began his career at the National Bank of Detroit, and he worked with J.P. Morgan Chase for much of his career; at various times at the bank’s Detroit, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio, offices, as well as often traveling to Asia.
While thus engaged, Bierly continued to pursue his coin hobby, eventually specializing in Civil War–era coinage, in particular, pattern coins. Today he is active in several coin groups and clubs, most notably the Central States Numismatic Society, the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, the Chicago Coin Club, the Michigan State Numismatic Society, and the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists, as well as the Civil War Token Society and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club. He sometimes exhibits his collection at major coin shows and frequently volunteers as an exhibit judge.
Bierly resides in LaPorte, Indiana. He has two children, Emma and Ken, as well as a granddaughter, Kiki.
About Whitman Publishing
Whitman Publishing is the world’s leading producer of numismatic reference books, supplies, and products to display and store coins and paper money. The company’s high-quality books educate readers in the rich, colorful history of American and world coinage and currency, and teach how to build great collections. Archival-quality Whitman folders, albums, cases, and other holders keep collectibles safe and allow them to be shown off to friends and family.
Whitman Publishing is the Official Supplier of the American Numismatic Association. As a benefit of membership in the ANA, members can borrow In God We Trust (and other Whitman books) for free from the Association’s Dwight N. Manley Numismatic Library, and also receive 10% off all Whitman purchases. Details are at the website of the ANA.