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This Month in Business History

United States Mint Founded

Richards, F. De B. (Frederick De Bourg), photographer. First U.S. Mint. Between 1850 and 1860. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The 225th anniversary of the United States Mint fell on April 2, 2017.

The Mint created an excellent timeline that traces discussion of starting a mint back to the Revolution. While the discussion of coinage began early, the country actually started minting coins in 1792 after the passage of the Coinage Act (the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is in charge of paper currency). The Mint’s original location was in Philadelphia, but over time various other locations, including a branch established in New Orleans in 1835, have been added or closed.

The Mint has many historical items on its web page for anyone interested in their history, but the Library of Congress also offers a lot to anyone researching this topic. You can find many images of the various branches of the Mint on the Library’s web page, including the closed locations in New Orleans, Dahloneg, GA, and Carson City as well as those still in operation, from the headquarters in Washington, D.C. to locations in Denver and the one in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. I have also found photographs that show employees working in the smelting room in Philadelphia and one of women in the Adjusting Department in New Orleans. There are even photographs of several Directors of the Mint, including George E. Roberts (1898-1907 and 1910-1914), Raymond T. Baker (1917-1922), Frank E. Scobey (1922-1923), and Robert J. Grant (1923-1933).

Searching the word “coinage” or “coinage act” or “mint” or “coin” on the Library of Congress homepage brings up more than just photographs. There are the papers from many people, including presidents, which is how I found something by Thomas Jefferson from 1784 about the establishment of a unit of money. I also found a letter about coinage from 1783 from Gouverneur Morris, a prominent politician from Pennsylvania, who at the time, was an assistant superintendent of finance and later Delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

The United States Mint is still housed within the Department of the Treasury over 225 years later.

Print Resources

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available. Of particular interest, are the materials in the papers of Alexander Hamilton who, as the first Secretary of the Treasury, took a keen interest in the new county’s establishment of money and was responsible for the Coinage Act.

Library of Congress Digital Resources

The following resources created or digitized by the Library of Congress can be used to find out more about the created of the Mint as well as the people and events of the day.

Internet Resources

These freely available online resources provide additional information on the topic.

Search the Library's Catalog

Additional works on this topic in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Library of Congress Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list of subject headings to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in accessing the catalog. For assistance in locating other subject headings that may relate to this subject, please consult a reference librarian.

If you need material published by the Mint to research its history, materials published by the Mint will list it as the author: