Large Bill, Fine
189 mm x 78 mm (7-3/8” x 3-1/8”)
HISTORY: Federal Reserve Districts were created by the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913, and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) on April 2, 1914. Of the 12 districts, Atlanta was designated the 6th District, comprising several southern states, and opened for business on November 16, 1914. This bill was among the first issues to be rolled out. At the time, John Burke (1859–1937), Treasurer of the United States, and William G. McAdoo (1863–1941), Secretary of the Treasury, served under the Wilson administration.
OBVERSE: Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) is featured in a right-facing profile on this “ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS” blue seal “FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE.” Franklin’s image was changed in 1928 to the side-facing portrait that we see today.
REVERSE: Arrayed on the back of this bill are five symbolic images representing (from L-R) Labor, Plenty, America, Peace, and Commerce. Labor is shown as a young man carrying a sheaf of wheat (the symbol of a successful harvest, nourishing and life-affirming), delivering it to the outstretched arm of Plenty.
Plenty, who is cradling a large cornucopia at her left side, may be Demeter, goddess of harvest, or Fortuna, goddess of good fortune.
America, in the center, might be the model of Minerva, Roman goddess of warfare, the arts, trade, and strategy; or Marianne, the French national personification of liberty (they gave us the Statue of Liberty) and reason; or possibly Columbia, “Spirit of the Frontier” (based on an 1872 painting by John Gast (1842–1896)), symbol of American manifest destiny.
Peace is personified by Pax, Roman goddess of peace, grasping a bouquet of olive branches. She was the daughter of Jupiter and Justice.
Commerce is portrayed by a wing-helmeted Mercury who holds a caduceus in his right hand while grasping a bound package beneath his left arm. In Roman mythology, Mercury was deified as the god of commerce and science. Due to his swiftness, he became a messenger between the gods. Mercury was also featured on the U.S. Diplomatic Medal, “TO PEACE AND COMMERCE” (M002), designed by Thomas Jefferson.