What President Is on the Dime?
What president is on the dime? The image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been on the dime since 1946, but why is he there?
Franklin Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882. In 1921, he contracted an illness doctors at the time believed to be polio. That did not keep him from being president for three terms and becoming a central figure in world politics during the Great Depression and World War II. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, but his status was so high he was quickly memorialized by putting his portrait on the dime.
His illness is now suspected to have been Guillain-Barre, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissue. It can present after surgery as a mild infection. During his illness, FDR tried many treatment options, including hydrotherapy. In 1926, he bought a resort at Warm Springs, Georgia, and founded a hydrotherapy center to help polio patients called the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. After he was president, he assisted with the formation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. This is one of the reasons his face was put on dimes after 1946. Now you have the answer to the question “What president is on the dime?”
March of Dimes
FDR was instrumental in the establishment of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938, which raised money for research and the care of those with polio. The foundation held an annual fundraiser every January called the March of Dimes, where people were urged to send dimes directly to the White House. The foundation officially changed its name to the March of Dimes in 1979.
For the first 17 years, the foundation supported research of polio and, in 1955, Jonas Salk’s vaccine was announced. Another successful vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin. After the polio vaccine had all but eliminated polio, the foundation decided to stay in business and change their focus to mothers and babies. Their new mission was to prevent birth defects, infant mortality, and premature births. Today, the March of Dimes is still going strong. They began hosting March for Babies in 1970, which raises funds for research and programs to prevent premature birth.
The Roosevelt Dime
Roosevelt, of course, is the answer to the question “What president is on the dime?” and it is interesting that dimes were the coins chosen for the annual fundraiser. Roosevelt was not only honored for his work with the Foundation, but he was also a strong leader during very difficult times.
Is the Roosevelt Dime the Only Dime?
There were five other dimes before the Roosevelt dime. Below is a list of the others. Keep in mind that when describing coins, the front, or heads side, is called the obverse. The tails side is the reverse.
The Draped Bust dime was minted between 1796 and 1807. The bust of Lady Liberty was on the obverse and the reverse had an eagle on a cloud, surrounded by palm and olive branches. In 1798, the eagle was changed and a version of the Great Seal was added.
The Capped Bust was produced from 1809 to 1837. Lady Liberty looked a little different and on the reverse and the eagle held three arrows and an olive branch. The U.S. shield was on his breast and the letters “10 c” were at the bottom.
From 1837 to 1891, the dime was called the Seated Liberty. The obverse showed a full length Lady Liberty sitting on a rock, holding a staff with a liberty cap on it. On her right side is a shield with the word “Liberty” inscribed on it. The reverse has the words “ONE DIME” on it, surrounded by a laurel wreath. The laurel was replaced with corn, wheat, maple, and oak leaves in the mid-1860s.
The Barber dime of 1892-1916 was named after Charles Barber, its designer. On the obverse of this dime, Lady Liberty is wearing a liberty cap, a laurel wreath, and a headband that has the word “Liberty” written on it. The reverse is only slightly changed from the previous dime.
The Winged Liberty Head dime was made from 1916 to 1945. This dime had a mythical goddess Liberty on the obverse, wearing a liberty cap with wings on it, which stood for “freedom of thought.” The reverse has fasces (basically a bundle of sticks with an axe in it) superimposed on an olive branch. These stand for a desire for peace but readiness for war.
The Roosevelt dime was minted in 1946 and is still being minted today. The obverse included a profile of Roosevelt with the words “In God We Trust” and “Liberty” on it. The reverse has an olive branch for peace, an oak branch for victory, and, between these, a torch for freedom.