Letter from A. Miles, 21 March 1837

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Brunswick Medina Co
March 21. 1837
Dear Sir
I have been appointed by Messr [William] Woodruff & [Zelotus] Mason Agent for this section of the — should you wish any Bank note Engraving executed— you will please forward me your orders & it shall be done to your satisfaction
Very Respectfully
Your obt servt
A Miles
Joseph Smith Esqr
[p. [1]]
Hosmer Curtis Esqr.
Ohio [p. [2]]
The subscribers having established themselves in for the purpose of executing
respectfully solicit any Orders in their line that may be agreeable to your Institution to favor them with.
It may be necessary only to say in reference to their respective qualifications, that William Woodruff was a pupil of the celebrated George Murray, of the firm of Murray, Draper, Fairman & Co., and during a term of many years, devoted his time principally to the execution of Bank Notes—of which the West received a considerable portion of his labors.
In reference to Z. H. Mason, it is only necessary to say, that the beautiful specimens of Die work with which many of the latest notes abound, are the production of that gentleman.
Believing that an establishment, located in the West, would afford conveniences to the Banking Institutions of the country—which has not hitherto existed—we have undertaken the above business, relying upon our own merits for success.
Having been engaged for the last year in making new Dies, Vignettes, &c. we are now prepared to furnish Notes in a very superior style, and on short notice.
☞ Bank Note Paper, of the best quality, always kept on hand.
Believing that the above information would not be unacceptable in the distribution of your Orders,
The subscribers respectfully remain
Your obedient servants,
, January, 1837.
Enclosed you have 2 samples as specemines of their work
A M [p. [3]]
<​Brunswick Ohio​>
<​March 22​>
Joseph Smith Esqure
Geauga Co


  1. new scribe logo

    Handwriting—probably of A. Miles—begins.  

  2. 1

    Miles appears to have originally addressed the business announcement to a Hosmer Curtis in Columbus, Ohio. Instead of sending the notice to Curtis, Miles crossed out his name and used the reverse side of the paper to address the notice to JS.  

  3. new scribe logo

    Handwriting ends; printed form begins.  

  4. 2

    George Murray was a well-known engraver, a native of Scotland who studied engraving in London and moved to Philadelphia in 1800. In 1810–1811, he formed the engraving firm Murray, Draper, Fairman & Co., a company that gained the reputation of being the finest banknote engravers in the United States. He was responsible for training many young engravers who worked as his apprentices. He died in Philadelphia in 1822. (Stauffer, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel, 186–187; Scharf and Wescott, History of Philadelphia, 2:1057–1059.)  

    Stauffer, David McNeely. American Engravers upon Copper and Steel. Part 1. New York: Grolier Club of the City of New York, 1907.

    Scharf, J. Thomas, and Thompson Westcott. History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884. 3 vols. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1884.

  5. 3

    Metal dies created intricate designs, often geometric, that distinguished the notes of different banks and made them harder to counterfeit.  

  6. new scribe logo

    Printed form ends; handwriting—probably of A. Miles—begins.  

  7. 4

    The enclosures were separated from the letter but appear to have been retained by JS. Sheets of uncut banknotes bearing the phrase “Treasurer of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti=Banking Co.,” along with sheets of printed promissory notes including “Kirtland” and “1837,” were used to record a JS sermon on the priesthood in 1840 and may be the enclosures sent with this letter. (Sample Kirtland Safety Society Notes, JS Papers Holding Collection, CHL.)  

  8. new scribe logo

    Insertions in unidentified handwriting.