73 mm (2.81”), 154 grams
HISTORY: Designed and created by Lee Lawrie (1877‒1963)—an important American architectural sculptor who, to this day, still touches our lives with the monumental work he has contributed to modern history—was the chosen sculptor for this Society of Medalists (SOM) #5 issue. One example, known to millions of travelers, is the dynamic centerpiece of the Rockefeller Center in New York City: Atlas hoisting the swirling sphere of Earth on this back, which was installed in 1937.
Born in Rixdorf, Prussia (now Neukölln, a borough of Berlin), Lawrie’s mother brought him to the United States in 1881 when he was four years old. He began studying sculpture as a teenager and went on to receive his BA at Yale University in 1910. His unique style embraced the Modern Gothic, Beaux-Arts, Classicism, and Art Deco movements.
Of this SOM commission in 1932, Lawrie wrote:
“I chose a Sower for the subject of this medal because it is a character that I have long admired. There was a farmer in Illinois that I as a boy liked to watch sow. I can see him now—his stride, and the swing of his arm, regular as though timed, as he distributed the grain evenly over the soil. My reason for using the verse from Galatians [verse 6:7, King James Version] is that it seems applicable to our age. All of us are sowers, and we should not expect life to yield much in return for little, or little for nothing, or anything at all for the mere wishing—either in a material or in a higher, abstract way. The medal is intended to cause reflection upon this age-old saying ‘Whatsoever a Man Soweth, That Shall He also Reap’ and those who pause to look at the medal may each read into it meanings of his own.”
OBVERSE: Lawrie chose a muscular farmer sowing seed by hand from a bag of seeds held in his left hand, with a nurturing sun behind. “WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH” crowns the sky, while beneath the soil we see “LAWRIE” and “©” at the bottom.
REVERSE: Lawrie shows us a sickle and two choices—a bountiful shaft of wheat and a barren branch of thorns—with the biblical admonition, “THAT SHALL HE ALSO REAP.”
EDGE: The top edge is engraved “SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS FIFTH- ISSUE.” The bottom edge is engraved “MEDALLAC ART CO NY.”