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Mrs. Willard A. Leonard


Mrs. Leonard, who was for forty-seven years an expert for the United States Government in detecting counterfeit money in the United States Treasury Department has just retired, owing to ill health, at the age of seventy-one years. She is a woman of strong character, who has devoted the best years of her life to the government, and has done this to educate and place well in life her only son. Major Henry Leonard, United States Marine Corps, who lost his arm at the siege of Pekin during the Boxer troubles.

As chief of counterfeit detectors, Mrs. Leonard's position in the Treasury Department was one of the most exacting in the service. For thirty-five years thousands of dollars a day passed through her hands, bills and bank notes of suspicious appearance, and during that time not a mistake has occurred. She left the service with a clean record. Mrs. Leonard was the "court of last resort."

According to the system in the department, should the make-up of a thousand dollar bill arouse suspicion, it would be forwarded to the counterfeit detecting division. Here it passed under the scrutiny of one of the detectors. Should the subordinate be in doubt regarding the genuineness of the bill, it was passed on to Mrs. Leonard.

She was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Leonard was a wife, a mother and a widow in less than two years. Her first husband was killed during the Civil War. In 1864 she came to Washington and was given a position in the Treasury under General Spinner, Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury.

Later, she married Hiram D. Leonard, of New York, also employed in the Treasury Department Mr. Leonard died soon after, of wounds received in the war.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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