Today, the 2009 Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar coin talks of the past.
On today’s date in 1912, William Jennings Bryan spoke at the dedication of the Lincoln monument on the West Plaza of the Nebraska State Capitol.
Back in 1903, the Nebraska Legislature decided the state needed a Lincoln Memorial. They authorized the state to spend $10,000, provided an equal amount of private funds could be collected.
In June 1909, the Memorial Association commissioned Daniel Chester French to sculpt the statue.
For the surroundings of the statue, French collaborated with architect Henry Bacon.
For the statue, French described that he “purposely tried to represent Lincoln bearing the burdens and perplexities and problems of the Great War.”
People liken the statue’s attitude as one of reverence over a grave in keeping with the seriousness of Lincoln’s speech at the dedication of the cemetery at Gettysburg.
Behind the standing statue, the design included the full text of the Gettysburg Address engraved in the Rhode Island granite background.
This was not the first time French and Bacon collaborated on a statue and its architectural setting. More importantly, it was not the last time either.
Less than ten years later, French and Bacon began work on a larger statue of Lincoln, this time for the Memorial on the mall in the nation’s capital.
The two men decided a seated figure would be best for the Washington memorial.
Initially to be a bronze, like the one in Nebraska, roughly 12 feet tall, the resulting statue stands 30 feet high, weighs 170 tons and consists of 28 blocks of white, Tate, Georgia marble.
French made sure this statue also expressed the gravity and seriousness of the events during Lincoln’s tenure as president.
Like the two Daniel Chester French statues, the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar coin reflects the somber weight of the nation’s issues in Lincoln’s portrait on the obverse. The coin’s reverse includes powerful words from Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech.