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The Woman on the Ten-Dollar Bill

In response to:

Federalists on Broadway from the January 14, 2016 issue

To the Editors:

The first sentence of Gordon S. Wood’s review of the musical Hamilton [NYR, January 14] and the book War of Two contained an inaccuracy. There is not and never has been an intention to remove Alexander Hamilton from the ten-dollar bill. As revealed in statements from the US Treasury, Hamilton will have to share the cotton-linen stage of the ten-dollar bill, but not leave it. Arguably, this is a concept perhaps innovative and appropriate for an age of a wildly popular American history rap-inspired musical featuring a multiracial cast and women cast in traditionally male roles. Of course, Hamilton’s unlikely to be top billing on the new bill, and that could be cause for complaint.

The Treasury’s stated plan has always been to redesign the bill in time for 2020 circulation and for the redesign to feature an American woman of historical significance. Hamilton’s portrait may be smaller or placed on the reverse; perhaps it will be retained only as a watermark security feature. Or maybe the woman’s and Hamilton’s portraits will be of equal size and both on the obverse. Whatever design wins, Alexander Hamilton is not being removed altogether from the ten-dollar bill, as Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew has repeatedly stated.

Readers can learn more online at thenew10.treasury.gov/.

Scott Isebrand
New York City