Alexander HamiltonI heard the chatter about putting a woman on the $10 federal reserve note. US Treasurer Rosie Rios took some heat for suggesting a woman share the bill with Alexander Hamilton.

That’s not a horrid idea. It works in Australia. (Page to the bottom of this page.) Except for the Queen alone on the $5 note, the other denominations all have a woman on one side and a man on the other. Maybe we should ditch the buildings on all US paper money and put women on the reverse side of all the money. Or redesign all the notes so that buildings were in the background and people as the main theme.

Having women on money isn’t new in the US. It’s just an old idea. And most of the women who appeared before presidents were goddesses. I’m sure that will go down well in some Christian camps were it revisited.

I can think of women, largely non-political, whose faces could be put on money without much of a fuss. I would hope musical artists would be considered–people like Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, and Amy Beach. Mary Cassatt or Georgia O’Keefe, yes. If Dorothy Day didn’t want to be marginalized as a saint, I wonder how she would react to being on the flip side from George Washington. Some others: Babe Didrikson, Frances Perkins, Amelia Earhart, Elizabeth Ann Seton.

You readers can probably think of others. Let’s assume we’re stuck with dead presidents. Whom would you pair with George, Tom, Abe, Alex, Andy, U.S., and Ben on the flip side of their respective paper notes?

And after you share your opinion in the commentariat below, tell the feds what you think here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to $10

  1. Liam says:

    Of all places to have her remembered, I think Dorothy Day would be extremely displeased at her image being placed on currency.

    (I think people should be dead at least 50 years before they appear on currency. 75 would be even better – out of living memory, thus less subject to latency bias.)

    I’d get rid of the $1 bill and replace it with a Walking Liberty dollar (borrowed of course from the Walking Liberty half-dollar from WW1-WW2).

    Washington on the $5 with the current dollar design otherwise unchanged.

    I would pair Lincoln on the $10 with Harriet Tubman. (I think Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison would approve of this pointedly contrapuntal pairing.)

    (Andrew Jackson’s appearance on currency is a mordant joke about a federal bank whose time has come and long gone.)

    John and Abigail Adams on the $20. (Wouldn’t mind if John Quincy were included – he was the living link from Adams pere to Lincoln, whose one term in the House – opposing the Mexican War – was the same term during which JQA – also opposing the Mexican War and the spread of slavery – died. Lincoln in a sense paid the dividends of John Adams’ critique of Thomas Jefferson’s contradictions.)

    Thomas Jefferson and Susan Anthony (no, not Sacagawea, which I think was patronizing … or Sally Hemings, which is more complex than it appears at first blush) on a new intermediate denomination TBD ($25/$40)

    Alexander Hamilton and Dorothea Dix – both founders of vital systems – on the $50.

    Benjamin Franklin and Anne Hutchinson – both freethinkers whose freethinking had deep and lasting influence on a distinctively American-as-not-European worldview on the $100.

  2. Anne M says:

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver for championing the rights of the mentally disabled….

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