The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 25, June 21, 2015, Article 12


There will be plenty of opinions spouted over the choice of a woman to honor of the U.S. $10 bill, but the first to come to my mind is Harriet Tubman. As noted earlier, Tubman was chosen by money artist J.S.G. Boggs to grace his design for a new $100 note many years ago (1996, I believe). They say life imitates art, don't they? Anyway, here's an article from CNN by one of the Tubman proponents, Donna Brazile; it gives a good overview of Tubman's life and accomplishments. -Editor

The early favorite is also my own personal favorite -- famed abolitionist and hero of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman. Tubman has been heavily touted as a replacement for Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. People campaigning to put a woman on the $20 bill held an online poll this year that drew more than 600,000 responses. Tubman got the most votes -- more than 100,000 -- narrowly to beat out former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

There are many reasons that Tubman is a front-runner in the race to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. She is justly famous for the many people she helped to escape from slavery. Born a slave herself around 1820, she escaped and fled to the North in 1849. But she risked her newfound freedom returning to the South 19 times in the subsequent years. In all, she personally led more than 300 slaves to freedom along the Underground Railway.

During the Civil War, Tubman helped the Union cause by serving as a cook and a nurse for Union troops in Confederate territory. She conducted scouting expeditions for the Union Army, worked as a spy and even helped conduct the planning and execution of Union raids on plantations along South Carolina's Combahee River.

In her later years, Tubman worked for women's right to vote alongside well-known suffragettes such as Anthony. Her social and humanitarian work took so much of her time and energy that she lived much of her life in poverty. Tubman lived until 1913, at the age of around 91 (her date of birth is uncertain). After growing to adulthood as a slave, she helped to end that cruel institution and died only seven years shy of seeing women win the right to vote.

To read the complete article, see:
My choice for the $10 bill (

Even the Brits are speculating on the choices. Here's an article from The Independent. -Editor

Will it be Susan B Anthony or Harriet Tubman? Eleanor Roosevelt or Rosa Parks? Following the Obama administration's announcement that a woman will be featured on the $10 bill, this is the first time in well over a century that a female portrait will grace the United States' paper money.

The redesigned bill will be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the right of women to vote, and the Treasury Department is launching a publicity campaign to solicit suggestions for what it should look like and who should be on it.

Other attempts to incorporate images of women into the currency have failed to take off. Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea had brief sojourns on the $1 coin, so unpopular the mint stopped making them in 2011, and Pocahontas was part of a group portrait on a bill circulated in the mid-19th century. "Young girls across this country will soon be able to see an inspiring woman on the $10 bill who helped shape our country and know that they too can grow up and do something great," says Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who began moves in April to get a female onto the American currency. "Make no mistake, this is a historic announcement and a big step forward."

Shaheen's legislation was a response to a movement actually calling for an overhaul of the $20 bill. A campaign called "Women on 20s" petitioned the White House this spring to oust Jackson from the denomination. But replacing him with a woman was only part of the reason for targeting this banknote. The group also objected to Jackson's treatment of Native Americans (and he was sceptical about paper money, preferring to use gold or silver).

The Women on 20s campaign went viral and more than 600,000 people voted in an online poll. Out of a list of 15 women suggested by the group, slavery abolitionist Tubman emerged as the top choice.

To read the complete article, see:
When America puts a woman on its $10 bill, who will be the best symbol of democracy? (

Steve Bishop forwarded this editorial cartoon from the June 19, 2015 Washington Post. Thanks. -Editor

Washington Post Cartoon 6-19-15

Wayne Homren, Editor

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