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Only one First Lady has ever been on U.S. currency

We tend to associate the faces on U.S. currency with Presidents, and with good reason: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson are just a few of the heads of state whose likenesses we’re used to seeing while opening our wallets. In all the time the United States has been minting dollars and cents, however, only one First Lady has been similarly honored: Martha Washington, whose portrait once adorned the $1 silver certificate. 

Created in 1886, 17 years after her husband’s visage first graced the dollar bill, the certificate originally featured a design based on a portrait of the First Lady by painter Charles Jalabert. The currency, which was backed by the government’s silver deposits and could even be exchanged for the precious metal from the U.S. Treasury, remained in use until 1957. The bill was well received: The Indiana Democrat’s February 20, 1901 edition reported that “Persons fortunate enough to possess a one-dollar silver certificate have an excellent picture of Martha Washington, the wife of the Father of His Country.”

DID YOU KNOW?

The U.S. Mint acknowledges how few women have appeared on U.S. currency

It wasn't until 1893 that a woman was featured on a U.S. coin, and she wasn't even American — it was Queen Isabella of Spain. It took another 86 years for Susan B. Anthony to become the second woman featured on American money. No less an authority than the U.S. Mint realizes this isn’t a good look: “Since then, there have been very few other coins celebrating women,” states a post on the Mint’s website. “Although coin designs should represent a country’s values and culture, women are historically underrepresented on American coins.” This led to the Mint’s American Women Quarters Program, which features 20 women on special-edition quarters introduced in 2022 and which will continue through 2025. Among them are Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna May Wong, Zitkala-Ša, and other trailblazers.

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I have a $3 bill with Hillary on it.

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