GALEN, JAMES

Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

James Galen was an early numismatic and philatelic publisher with a magazine beginning during the nation's Centennial Celebration in 1876. He was an avid coin and stamp collector as well as a collector of curiosities of all sorts especially natural history, and plant species in particular. Unfortunately, he is unknown in the coin and stamp communities since he was a contributor to these fields, but has fame as a botanist. He never married and lived with his mother until her death in 1896.

He served during the Civil War in 1863.

James Galen (1840-1906),was born on March 23, 1840, son of Edward Galen (1811-1873), and Nancy Armstrong Galen (1818-1896). The family lived in Martic Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He lost the election as town assessor in 1881.

Fig. Postal Card of James Galen to  William F. Sheely, New Oxford, Pennsylvania, seeking to exchange stamps for fossils 
and coins. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Galen published The Philomatha semi-monthly journal devoted to the collecting of coins, stamps. etc.,  printed at Rawlinsville, Pennsylvania, from 1876 to 1877,  comprising four 5" x 8".  At. least fifteen numbers were issued. (Not listed in Remy Bourne, American Numismatic Periodicals)

Fig. James Galen was reported to own the largest numismatic cabinet in Lancaster County in 1883. Franklin Ellis and Samuel Evans, The History of Lancaster County Pennsylvania With Biographical Sketch of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men.( 1883) : 970

He was a botanist and published on local flora : Galen's First Annual Catalogue of North American Herbaceous Plants, Orchids, Shrubs, Climbers, Alpine, Aquatic, and Bog Plants, Rare Ferns, Etc: For 1882; and  Galen's Flora of Lancaster County, Penna., (1884)

He also published in 1884 A Catalogue of Books, Catalogues and Circulars.

Fig. Delaware County Daily Times, Saturday, 2 January, 1886, page 3

Fig. Times, Monday, 30 November 1891, page 2

In 1892, he moved to Bethesda, Pennsylvania.



He died of paralysis on November 29, 1906. He is buried at the Rawlinsville Methodist Cemetery, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Bibliography :

Boyd's Pennsylvania Business Directory, (1861) : 1205
Lancaster County Directory, (1869) : 320
Numisma, Vol. 8, No. 4 (1884)
The Exchangers' Monthly, Vol. IV, No. 4, February (1889) : 5
The Oologist, March (1889)
American Magazine of Natural Science, Vol. 1, No. 5, October (1892) : 40
Eggs and Stamps, Vol. 1, No. 2, February (1894) : 15

Lancaster County Historical Society, Historical Papers and Addresses, Volumes 9-10(Lancaster : The New Era, 1905) : 273

Catalogue of the Philatelic Library of the Earl of Crawford, K.T. (1911)


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