National Geographic : 1964 Dec
I thought some of the Presidential citations were works of art, but Robin's gaze never wavered from the bills. As we left the exhibi tion room with its displays of old issues, she clearly felt I was neglecting something. Paus ing by the door, she gave me a puzzled look. "Won't we buy any of them?" she asked. Oddly enough, Robin's question makes sense-there is a room in Washington where one can, in a sense, buy money. Not Confed erate bills or collectors' items, but bona fide Government checks exchangeable for curren cy. Buyers can even pay for the checks with Peaceful pace of the past: A mule-drawn barge carries sightseers through a leafy tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The historic water way, which linked the Capital with Cumberland, Maryland, once kept more than 500 boats busy; 756 now four-lane commuter arteries roar nearby. charred paper if they want, just so it's the right kind of paper. The person who decides just what kind of paper will do is a motherly silver-haired lady in her sixties, Mrs. Guilia P. Burke. Mrs. Burke is supervisor of the Mutilated Currency Branch in the Treasury's Currency Redemp tion Division. One day she walked me through a caged-off room where her 23 women assist ants work. In a kindly way she explained that the office had tried hiring men, but that they didn't have the patience for the job. Mrs. Burke and her ladies examine paper Mellowed by age, the face of Georgetown glows on a misty fall evening. This oldest section of Washington, carefully preserved by its residents and by law, sees students liv ing next door to Senators, and clerks rubbing elbows with high Government officials.