Robert E. Preston
Preston was born in Bean Station, Tennessee in 1836. In 1856, United States Secretary of the Treasury James Guthrie appointed Preston to a clerkship in the office of the first auditor. He rose through the ranks in that office and was responsible for auditing the accounts of the United States Mint. He married Ellen Louise, with whom he had one daughter, Nannie M. Preston.
When the Mint Bureau was created by the Coinage Act of 1873, Henry Linderman, the Director of the United States Mint, encouraged Preston to join the Mint Bureau. Preston served as Computer of Bullion, Assay Clerk, Adjuster of Accounts, and Mint Examiner. At several times, he served as Acting Director of the United States Mint in the absence of Linderman and his successors, Horatio C. Burchard and James P. Kimball.
In 1893, President of the United States Grover Cleveland named Preston Director of the United States Mint. Preston's appointment was strictly on the basis of merit; with the free silver question raging, Cleveland wanted to appoint a nonpartisan as Mint Director. Preston held office from November 1893 until February 1898, after which he reentered the Mint Service as an Examiner. He died June 24, 1911, purportedly at the age of 77, and was buried June 27 at the Oak Hill Cemetery (Washington, D.C.).
- Kenneth M. Failor & Eleonora Hayden, Robert E. Preston in Medals of the United States Mint, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972. Pp. 148–49
- Alfred Sidney Johnson, Clarence A. Bickford, William W. Hudson, & Nathan Haskell Dole, The Cyclopedic Review of Current History (1894), Vol. 3, p. 499
- Miss Preston is buried, "Miss Nannie M. Preston, only daughter of Robert E. Preston, former Director of the Mint...", in the Washington Herald, June 13, 1909.
- George Greenlief Evans, Illustrated History of the United States Mint (1898), p. 87
- "The New Mint Director", New York Times, Sept. 28, 1893
Edward O. Leech
| Director of the United States Mint
November 1893 – February 1898
George E. Roberts