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Eckley B. Coxe Technical Library Scrapbooks on Australian Gold Discoveries

Identifier: SC MS 0214

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of newspaper articles from primarily Australian sources of the 1850s and 60s glued on to scrapbook pages. There is a vague general chronology beginning as early as 1851in both books not a progression from one book to the second book. The first book has a brief impromptu index in a spidery handwriting on the first page: New South Wales Goldfields, Shipments of Gold, Revenues – p. 1-64; Victoria Goldfields, Sundries, Gold by Escort, Gold Shipments, Bank, Revenues, Populations – p. 65-174; New Zealand, Otago, South Island – p. 177-192; Nelson, Okitiki Diggings, Coromandel goldfields, Canterbury - p. 195-204. This spidery handwriting continues throughout both scrapbooks in little notes possibly the handwriting belongs to Eckley B. Coxe based on some examples of his student notes on mineralogy.


  • Creation: 1851-1865


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Eckley Brinton Coxe, born in 1839 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1858 at age 19 with a degree in Mining Engineering. He studied abroad specifically in France at the Paris School of Mines and Freiberg‘s Mining Academy in Germany. At Freiberg, he became acquainted with Julius Weisbach, a famous professor of mechanics and engineering. Weisbach authorized Coxe to translate his great treatise, Theoretical Mechanics, published in the United States in 1870. Coxe returned to the United States in 1864 and immediately entered his family business in the technical management of coal mining in Drifton, Pennsylvania and began a highly successful business career. He seemed to have a broad interest in mining engineering as reflected by his personal technical library which was reputed to be the finest in America. Lehigh University’s Special Collections has a number of related gold and silver mining pamphlets originating from the Eckley B. Coxe Technical Library.

The Australia gold rush began in 1851and continued for a while expanding from eastern Australia to New Zealand and later to western Australia. Gold was discovered as early as 1814 by some convicts cutting a road through the bush but the real gold boom began at Bathurst in 1851 following observations made by some gold miners from the 1849 California gold rush recognizing similar geology. The amount of gold coming from Australia was so prolific that eventually Sir William Denison, the New South Wales governor, petitioned Parliament to make the gold coin minted in Sydney, Australia official “coin of the Realm” – meaning it would be recognized throughout the British Empire. Sir Alfred Churchill brought the proposal to the House of Commons. Gold mining is a speculative venture and there is constant interest in the output of the goldfields which is reflected by the Australian newspapers interest in publishing reports about the gold discoveries, the gold production and revenues resulting from the mining endeavors.


1 Linear Feet (Two scrapbooks measuring 35 cm x 25 cm (approximately) bound in brown buckram: Book I spine of library green tape binding very tightly bound no lettering. On cover in gold stamp printing AUSTRALIAN GOLD DISCOVERIES – SCRAPS. Inside cover green paper fly leaves with paper label noting “Technical Library of the Late Eckley Brinton Coxe Trustee of the Lehigh University Presented to the University by Mrs. Coxe 1896.” Book I has 210 pages of very brittle paper, page numbers are handwritten in black ink upper outer corners. Book II is missing front cover. Poor spine material of buckram – gold stamped title GOLD DISCOVERIES – SCRAPS. SUPPLEMENTARY &, white ink lettering 553.41 A938 S. Only one third of the pages are used. Pages numbered in pencil up to 59. On the first used page is a purple oval property mark of the E.B. Coxe Technical Library Drifton, PA. There are two stamped accession numbers: Book I is 80563 and Book II is 80564 with library cataloging information 553.41 A938 storage. Eight flyers printed by the House of Commons regarding Australian gold also included among the pages as well are two small notes – one on The Greshem Club notepaper.) : [2] volumes in [1] flat box, 1 linear foot

Language of Materials



These scrapbooks were a part of the Eckley B. Coxe Technical Library and given to Lehigh Library in 1896. The material includes Australian newspaper articles relating to the various Australian goldfields and their output beginning in 1851 as well as the amount of gold revenues generated.


The materials are loosely arranged chronologically but not continuously throughout both scrapbooks. The first scrapbook has a little index which outlines the locations of the goldfields grouping them in Australia and New Zealand. The second scrapbook appears to be a supplementary collection with no index. Found among the pages of the second scrapbook were six pamphlets from the House of Commons concerning Australian gold production. Sir Alfred Churchill is listed as author of two of the House of Commons publications: one publication introduces Sir William Denison, governor of New South Wales, proposition for recognizing the coinage minted at Sydney as “Coin of the Realm.”

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These scrapbooks from the E. B. Coxe Technical Library Drifton, PA. were donated by Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe in 1896 to Lehigh University Library. At one time the scrapbooks were cataloged into the University Library collection as 553.41 A938 but as the years passed were removed from the University Library and placed in storage

Related Materials

Eckley Brinton Coxe Manuscripts, SC MS 0059 The Forster-Firmin Gold and Silver Amalgamating Co., Philadelphia: Lehman and Bolton’s Lithographers, 1870 National Library of Australia, Raymond, R. W. “Biographical Notice of Eckley B. Coxe,” Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, 1895

Coxe Family Papers in Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Eleanor Nothelfer
September 27, 2011
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)