FRANCIS E. SPINNER, TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE FIRST ADMINISTRATOR IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO EMPLOY WOMEN FOR CLERICAL JOBS WRITES:
“CONGRESS INCREASED THE PAY OF FEMALE CLERKS, TO NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS – THIS IS VERY LIBERAL TO A MAJORITY OF THEM, BUT NOT ENOUGH… BUT NOT ENOUGH TO PAY FOR THE SERVICES THAT SOME RENDER”
“THE SOUTH, UNLESS IT CHANGED ITS COURSE, WILL YET SEE MORE TROUBLE THAN ANYTHING IT HAS SEEN IN THE PAST”
SPINNER, FRANCIS E. (1802-1890). Treasurer of the United States (1861-1875); Congressman; Banker; and Politician. Surprisingly scarce, Good Autograph Letter Signed “F. E. Spinner” as Treasurer, on Treasury of the United States letterhead. Four full pages, quarto. Washington, August 4, 1866. To Sidney P. Gambia (1814-1890) Postmaster at San Antonio and close friend of Spinner. Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Spinner talks in detail of Treasury employees, and laments the trouble he sees ahead in Reconstruction. Spinner writes:
“My dear Gambia, Your very interesting letter of the 13th, was received on the 28th — So little I know of your distant and strange country here, that the pictorial illustrations, and your pen and ink work pictures excite a lively interest. – I have recently had appointed to my Office, a Mrs. Wagner, late from Indiana, whose husband is at New Braunfels [Texas] – Mrs. Wagner’s husband’s brother was killed by the rebels, and their property was destroyed – She of course, takes a very deep interest in Texas and looks at your pictures often. By the way, Congress increased the pay of female clerks, to nine hundred dollars – this is very liberal to a majority of them, but not enough to pay for the services that some render. – The same money distributed, a third of them at $700 -$900, and $1,100, would have been much more equitable. – My salary too, for a wonder, has been increased to $6,500, without a word of objection in either house. The rest of the Office, I am sorry to say, has been left at its present inadequate pay.– Col. Barry has had his regular leave of absence; – But after his return, he seemed to become worse and worse, and has now left on sick leave. – He seems quite discourage, and on bidding me goodbye, he offered to resign, saying he was sure he should never return again. – I hope otherwise. Your old room, is not very harmonious just now.- Dean and Rockwood don’t admire Hoage. – Yesterday Rockwood brushed his desk on Hoage, and got Slapped in the face for it. George Holts is in that room, I will talk to him about his brother Jacob, Mr. Breckinridge is still here. I showed him you letter. – He was much pleased, and spoke very highly of you. Governor Hamilton is stumping the North. I think the radicals will carry the Elections. – The south, unless it changed its course, will yet see more trouble than anything it has seen in the past. The loyal people are determined to see this thing out. – I am obliged to work all the time again, so I must close, Truly yours. F.E. Spinner.”
Spinner’s remarks on the pay of female clerks is notable, as Spinner was first administrator in the federal government to employ women for clerical jobs. During the Civil War, many of the clerks of the Treasury Department joined the army, and Spinner suggested to Secretary Salmon P. Chase the advisability of employing women. After much persuasion, his suggestion was taken up, and he carried it into effect successfully, though not without much opposition. The women were first employed to count money, and later took up various clerical duties. He eventually hired over 100 women, paid them well, and retained them after the war was over. He is noted for having his likeness appear on fractional currency, and his signature of the “Greenback semergency paper currency issued by the United States during the American Civil War that were printed in green on the back. They were in two forms: Demand Notes, issued in 1861–1862, and United States Notes, issued in 1862–1865. A form of fiat money, the notes were legal tender for most purposes and carried varying promises of eventual payment in coin, but were not backed by existing gold or silver reserves” . These ‘dollars’ issued by the United States made Spinner’s signature the most recognized in the United States.