Here at the United States Mint, women have been making history for more than two centuries. The Mint hired the first female Federal employees ever at the Philadelphia Mint facility in 1795 as adjusters. Adjusters weighed and, if necessary, filed coin blanks down to their proper weight to control material costs for the government. Another “first” occurred when Nellie Tayloe Ross, who had already made history as the first woman elected as the governor of a state (Wyoming), was appointed the first woman director of the United States Mint in 1933. Since then, women have served in the role for 54 of the 85 years.
The United States Mint offers coins featuring Lady Liberty and Sacagawea and several medals honoring individual women and organizations highlighting their contributions in shaping American history.
Since its earliest days, the U.S. has often personified the depiction of liberty as a woman on coins. That tradition continues today with our new “Preamble to the Declaration of Independence Platinum Proof Coin Series.” Struck in 99.95 percent platinum, the 2018 coin’s obverse design features “Life” personified by Lady Liberty teaching a small child to sow seeds in a field.
Lewis’ and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition to map the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase may have had less success had it not been for bilingual Shoshone woman Sacagawea. She provided invaluable interpretation skills, and her quick thinking saved several of the expedition’s journals from being swept away by a river, a feat that led Lewis and Clark to name the river after her.
Rosa Parks became one of the faces of the civil rights movement on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, to a white man. Her courageous act cemented her place in American history by launching the Montgomery bus boycott and propelling the civil rights movement to the forefront of our Nation’s consciousness.
Canonized as a saint in 2016, Mother Teresa of Calcutta became a teacher after joining a religious order a year earlier. She became increasingly concerned by the poverty she saw around her and founded the Missionaries of Charity to fight it.
The more than 1,000 members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were pioneers who collectively represented a major breakthrough for female service in the U.S. Armed Forces. Although they did not serve in combat roles, WASP assignments included test piloting and transporting personnel and cargo. 38 of these brave women died while serving during World War II.
Press release courtesy of the United States Mint.