Who Really Designed the American Dime?


BY CHRISTINA DJOSSA
JANUARY 17, 2018

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you looked—really looked—at a dime? It is the smallest coin in U.S. circulation, so it takes a keen eye to see the very subtle “JS” just beneath Franklin D. Roosevelt’s truncated neck. These are the initials of John Sinnock, the U.S. Mint’s Chief Engraver from 1925 to 1947, who is credited with sculpting the profile of the 32nd president. However, institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum—and even Roosevelt’s son—credit another sculptor with inspiring the design: Selma Burke, the illustrious Harlem Renaissance sculptor. So where is credit due? The answer is … complicated.

In 1943, 43-year-old Selma Burke won a Commission of Fine Arts competition and a rare opportunity to sculpt the president’s likeness for the new Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D.C. Burke, renowned for her Booker T. Washington bust, ran into some problems, since she didn’t feel that photographs captured Roosevelt’s stature. So the sculptor wrote to the White House to request a live-sketch session. The administration, to her utter shock, agreed.

Read the whole article by Djossa at “Atlas Obscura”:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/who-designed-american-dime-selma-burke-franklin-roosevelt


Ending Endless Wars: The Colombian Peace Process 2/6


Save the Date:

On February 6, Dr. Jennifer Schirmer, Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School’s Religions and the Practice of Peace Initiative, will host a Fireside Chat in the FDR Suite.

For the last 15 years, Jennifer directed a peace-building project in Colombia, engaging multiple sectors in dialogs preparatory to a peace agreement. Jennifer is an expert on international experiences with ceasefires, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration & reconciliation – areas we feel are critical to today’s America.

RSVP will be available shortly. Undergraduates given priority.

 


Face facts. The west that won the cold war no longer exists


We recommend this op-ed by Rafael Behr at “The Guardian.” We also recommend that more public figures in the West speak of liberal democracy openly and regularly.

“The US president makes a parody of the idea of the west as a beacon of moral authority. It is true that his despotic urges are hemmed by law in a way that lesser countries might not manage. But it is some downgrade of the system to boast that it might withstand assault by a venal, nepotistic maniac. America used to aim higher than constitutional kleptocracy.

“In such times it is easy to forget that the “western” model is still the best way to organise people into peaceful, prosperous societies. The benefits of liberal democracy are routinely taken for granted by people who live in one, but not by those who don’t. Millions vote with their feet, migrating across continents in search of a better life. That movement flatters the achievements of democratic societies, although our politics rarely casts it in those terms.”

Read Behr’s whole op-ed at “The Guardian”:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/10/west-cold-war-capitalism-eastern-bloc-populism