SCHUHMACHER, HENRY JACOB

Copyright 2011-2017 John N. Lupia


Fig. 1. Henry Jacob Schuhmacher and his wife Louisa Elizabeth Philippa Schuhmacher with their two daughters Doris and Vera circa 1911.

Henry Jacob Schuhmacher (1884-1968) was president of the Board of Trade, Massachusetts and also of the Boston Numismatic Society (retired 1949). He was the ANA, Massachusetts District Secretary for many years. He worked as an electrician and lived at 11 South Fairview, Roslindale, Massachusetts. He was married to Louisa Elizabeth Philippa (1882-1961). They had two daughters : Doris Marie Schuhmacher, and Vera Barabar Schuhmacher (1909-1993)

His parents Heinrich Schuhmacher (1857-1915) and Maria A. Ziegler (1865-1959) were German immigrants to America who settled in Arlington, Massachusetts where he was born on May 6, 1884. 


Schuhmacher rose to fame in the field of numismatics during the Great Depression. What Shirley Temple was to film Henry Schuhmacher  was to American numismatics. He was a great promotor of token and medals that were far more affordable to collect during the lean hard years of the 1930's that help bring new life and good spirits within the ANA and Boston Numismatic Society spreading fun and good will through commemorative numismatics, talks and exhibits at all events especially National Coin Week. During the Washington Tercentenary of 1932 he began collecting Washingtoniana for the next twenty years amassing one of the largest known collections in the country. In 1943 and 1944 the Boston Numismatic Society won first and second place awards for their exhibits during National Coin Week, thanks to Henry Schuhmacher who spearheaded those efforts.  It was the first time  these awards were ever made in New England. In the later 1940's he was chairman of the ANA National Coin Week Committee. Yet, Schuhmacher did not exhibit in numismatics exclusively but was also as active in the field of philatelics also winning awards in that field too for his exhibits.

During the Tercentenary Pageant at Roslindale, Massachusetts, June 5-6, 1930, Schuhmacher was the coin dealer who not only conceived the idea to have special medals struck but was also selected by the Associated Societies of Roslindale to sell the golden medalets minted for the celebration.

In February 1931 Schuhmacher created the Tercentenary Exhibit of Medals at the Boston Public Library for Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary, comprising 180 souvenir coins, tokens, medals, buttons and badges.
Fig. 2. Schuhmacher advertisement for Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary Tokens, Medals and Memorabilia in The Numismatist, May (1931) : 365

His vast collection of Tercentenary Tokens and Medals was the primary source of illustrations for Shepard Pond's descriptive list "Medals of  Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary," published in June 1931 issue of The Numismatist

Fig. 3. Schuhmacher advertisement for the 1932 Washing Medal and Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary Tokens, Medals and Memorabilia in The Numismatist, January (1932) : 72

In April 1933 Schuhmacher exhibited over 200 coins, tokens and medals at the First National Bank, Boston, Massachusetts for the celebration of the Bicentennial of Washington. In the ANA Annual Convention in September 1933, Schuhmacher  gave each banqueter a bronze key-shaped medal inscribed "Key to Massachusetts Hospitality 1630-1930". 

He was elected the ANA District Secretary for the State of Massachusetts in 1934. From 1934 to 1935 he was in charge of organizing the Boston Hobby Show for the New England Hobby Collectors held at Horticulture Hall, Boston.

Figs. 4 & 5. Schuhmacher advertisement in The Numismatist, September (1935) : 618

In 1937 he introduced the public radio broadcast on numismatics for the Boston Numismatic Society.

In 1941 he was elected president of the Boston Philatelic Society.
In 1944 he was elected Treasurer of the Boston Numismatic Society.
In 1945 he conceived of the Boston Numismatic Society sponsoring a New England Numismatic Conference held at the Copley-Plaza Hotel, Boston, with speakers including Damon Douglas, Martin Kortjohn, Horace Grant, and Arthur Dewing.



Fig. 6. Henry Schuhmacher and Edwin Dressel in The Numismatist, June 1947, page 403


Figs. 7 & 8. The Numismatist, October 1948.

Schuhmacher had invited the ANA to Boston for the 1948 Annual Convention (57th Anniversary Convention). This was the same year that Schuhmacher also was the key organizer for the Third Annual New England Numismatic Conference on December 6th at the Sheraton Biltmore Hotel, New Providence, Rhode Island.

Fig. 9. The Numistmatist, November 1948.

In January 1953 Schuhmacher placed his vast collection of Washingtoniana on permananet exhibition (indefinite loan) at the Masonic Museum, 51 Boylston Street, Boston.

Fig. 10. Schuhmacher with his collection of Washingtoniana republished in The Numismatist from the Christian Monitor.

In the July 1954 issue of The Numismatist his letter regarding current market prices for various editions of Heath's Improved and Enlarged Infallible Government Counterfeit Detector brought somewhat of a surprise with prices ranging from $4 to $12.50. 

In 1960 he headed the Pine Tree Shilling Tercentenary Committee .

He died on October 15, 1968 at Boston, Massachusetts.

            Bibliography :

Boston City Directory 1926, 1837            
"Roslindale, Mass., Issues Souvenir Medalet,", The Numismatist, May (1930) : 301
The Numismatist, February (1931) : 115   
The Numismatist, May (1931) : 365 
The Numismatist, June (1931) : 3  
The Numismatist, May (1933) : 328 
The Numismatist, October (1933) : 634
The Numismatist, July (1937) : 663
The Numismatist, December (1945) : 1355


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