BIRD, REV. FREDERICK MAYER

Copyright 2011-2019 John N. Lupia, III

Rev. Frederick Mayer Bird photograph 1860, graduation picture at Union Theological Seminary. The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, Union Theological Seminary, New York


Rev. Frederick Mayer Bird (1838-1908), was born June 28, 1838, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-1854), a dramatist and novelist, and Mary Mayer Bird (1809-1868). 

Like all students studying Latin and ancient history since the early colonial period he was introduced to ancient numismatics by his schoolmasters.
 
In 1857, he graduated the University of Pennsylvania. 

In 1860, he graduated Union Theological Seminary, New York. 

On September 3, 1861,  he was ordained a Lutheran minister and served at Rhinebeck, New York. 

During the Civil War he served as a chaplain in the U. S. Army from 1862 - 1863. 

In 1869, Bird was ordained a priest 

From 1870-1874, he served as Rector at Spotswood, New Jersey.

He consigned coins to an auction sale held by Bangs - March 12, 1873.

In 1877, he married Frances Palmer Snowhill (1858-1941). They had a son Robert Montgomery Bird (1882-1942).

He wrote about Roman Emperors and their families depicted on coins in his widely acclaimed article : "In A Cabinet" Lippincott's Magazine, February (1878)

From 1881-1886, he was professor of Psychology, and Rhetoric at Leheigh University.

He was a corresponding member of the ANS since May 15, 1883.


He was a frequent correspondent of the Chapman Brothers buying and selling, bidding on their sales and using them as bidding agents for other sales catalogued by other coin dealers or auction houses.


In 1886, he published "Recollections of Mickley," American Journal of Numismatics (1886) : 16

He was a specialist who published extensively on liturgical hymns.

In 1888, he donated 3,000 hymnals to Union Theological Seminary.

From 1893-1898, he was editor of Lippincott's Magazine.

Bird's correspondence with the Chapman Brothers postmarked July 21, 1895, with a list of offerings of his store cards. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.


Postal Card sent to the Chapman Brothers postmarked December 24, 1901 : "Will send a consignment if you will tell me when it will be in order for you next sale. Can get it in about New Year or any time later. (I do not want you to be at any expense of an extra page in catalog, as once - not at my desire). F. M. Bird" It is possible Bird sent material for the January 31, 1902 sale, or that held May 1-2, 1902, or later, which has heretofore been unidentified, thereby making this a sixth auction previously unknown. Since he immediately replied it seems reasonable that some of Bird's collection was consigned to that held in January. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.


He was an aficionado on handwriting, calligraphy, and penmanship and wrote a series of articles in the Independent, a New York weekly magazine.

In the April 1903 issue of The Numismatist he is listed as ANA Member No. 501.

He died at South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on April 2, 1908.


Lyman Haynes Low auctioned off the remainder of Bird's coin collection in three auctions held June 8, 1908, July 9, 1908, and September 4-5, 1908.


Works :





Editor, Hymns for the Use of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1865)

Charles Wesley Seen in his Finer and Less Familiar Poems (1866)

"In A Cabinet" Lippincott's Magazine, February (1878)

"Portraits of Later Bronze," American Journal of Numismatics (1884) : 14

"On the Ways of Some Cataloguers," American Journal of Numismatics (1884) : 15-16

"Recollections of Mickley," Proceedings of the American Numismatic Society, March (1886) : 16-18

A Pessimist in Theory and Practice (1888) - published under his pseudonym Robert Timsol.

An Alien from the Commonwealth (1889)

A Belated Revenge (1889) - His father's unfinished manuscript of "Ipsico Poe".

The Story of Our Christianity (1893)

Heroes and Martyrs of Christianity (1897)

Numismatic Editor, Chandler's Encyclopedia: An Epitome of Universal Knowledge (1898)


Auction : (5 or 6)

Bangs - March 12, 1873
Steigerwalt-  October 22, 1883
Chapman - January 31, 1902? 
Lyman H. Low - June 8, 1908
Lyman H. Low - July 9, 1908
Lyman H. Low - September 4-5, 1908

Bibliography :

The Numismatist, April (1903)
Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds.,Guida Numismatica 4thedition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 567, No. 5960, and 526, No. 5292 the first entry lists him wrong as from Connecticut
Proceedings of the American Numismatic and Archeological Society (1903) : 22
Gengerke, Martin, American Numismatic Auctions, 8thedition (1990) : 10
Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 285
Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli. A Bibliography of American Numismatic Auction Catalogues 1828-1875
Q. David Bowers, American Numismatics before the Civil War 1760-1780 (Wolfeboro, 1998)
John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1, 108, 137

 

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