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Browsing Foward

Women on Currency: Not Such a New Idea

Women on Texas Currency

News Radio 1200 WOAI reported on a story regarding the U.S. Treasury announcing plans to replace the image of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with the image of a historical woman. The image has yet to be determined.

In their reporting, WOAI quoted Russell L. Martin, Central University Libraries Assistant Dean for Collections and Director of DeGolyer Library, throughout their story as a source. Martin said having a woman on a $10 bill is nothing new in Texas.

The story went on to say, “Before the days of the Federal Reserve, national banks printed their own currency, called bank notes. In Texas, many notes contained stylized images of women in flowing robes striking heroic poses.”

Martin also told WOAI, up until the Civil War, women on bank notes were symbolic such as Goddess of Liberty or Female Grace. In addition, the bill included patriotic scenes of industry, farms, and architecture and many are collector’s items today.


Some examples (top of page) from the Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency at the DeGolyer Library show currency engraved with female images. Visit the Rowe-Barr Collection online at http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/all/cul/tbn/. It’s home to the most comprehensive collection of currencies in the United States and represents thousands of notes, scrip, bonds and other financial obligations issued in Texas between the 1820s and 1935.