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The Hall of Fame
Great Americans
New York University


Hall of Fame at New York University
Medal Series

By D. Wayne Johnson, Copyright 2004.

One of the most popular portrait series of medals in the world, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans Series honors the most famous Americans chosen by highly selected judging committees and sponsored by New York University. The first election was held in 1900 -- when a building was erected to house the Hall and an ongoing collection of statues. Elections were held every five years thereafter.

Bronze statues of the honorees were installed within outside niches along the open colonnade at the University Heights campus. It partly surrounds a Pantheon style building created by architect Stamford White that has served as a library and auditorium over its first century.

The Medals. In 1962 a coalition was formed to sponsor and market fine art medals to honor these same famous Americans. The coalition consisted of New York University, the owner of the Hall of Fame; the National Sculpture Society, which would furnish an art committee; the Medallic Art Company, which would manufacture the medals; and the Coin and Currency Institute which would market the medals.

The Art Committee was formed of five members with sculptor Donald De Lue as chairman; this committee issued commissions to American sculptors who expressed an interest in creating one or more of the medals. (Those sculptors who had created the bust were given first choice to do the medal.) Over the next 13 years, 96 medals (listed below) were created by 42 sculptors, predominantly members of the National Sculpture Society.

Rules for the medal design were simple. It had to bear a portrait on the obverse, significant scene from that subject's accomplishment for the reverse. The lettering HALL OF FAME FOR GREAT AMERICANS AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY must appear on the medal, either side was permissible. While the design was left to the artist, each submission had to pass the approval of the Art Committee composed of the artist's sculptural peers.

Medals were struck in two sizes. A large 3-inch (76mm) size in bronze only, and a small 1 3/4-inch (44mm) in bronze and silver. The silver was serially numbered.

Medalist Laura Gardin Fraser had selected two medals to create -- Mary Lyon and Gilbert Stuart -- but died before completing the models. Sculptor Karl Gruppe finished the two medals as close to her designs and style as possible. The two Wright Brothers, with different statues and years of election, appear on one medal, by Paul Fjelde.

Later status. In 1973 and 1976 the last 20th century elections were held and seven new honorees* were elected into the Hall (which would fill in every niche in the colonnade). In 1973 New York University sold their University Heights Campus to City College of New York along with the building and the statues forming the Colonnade. The statues, and the Hall of Fame itself, were in limbo for awhile. Bronx Community College, which now occupies the campus, is present stewardship of the Hall. Since 1977 no elections have been held, no new statues erected or medals issued.

However, visitors to New York City can still travel to University Heights in the Bronx and walk the Colonnade, viewing the magnificent statues overlooking the Hudson River. Or they can build a set of fine art medals created by some of the most talented medalists of the 20th century with high relief portraits and stunning medallic art.

* For 1973: Louis Brandeis, George Washington Carver, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Phillip Sousa. For 1976: Clara Barton, Luther Burbank and Andrew Carnegie.

Hall of Fame Postcard


Collector's Guide


  Honoree Category Year
Sculptor Year
PIC Adams, John Statesman 1900 Donald DeLue 1971
PIC Adams, John Quincey Statesman 1905 EvAngelos Frudakis 1972
PIC Addams, Jane Humanitarian 1965 Granville Carter 1968
PIC Agassiz, Louis Scientist 1915 Gertrude Lathrop 1966
PIC Anthony, Susan B. Humanitarian 1950 Paul Fjelde 1963
PIC Audubon, John James Scientist 1900 Gertrude Lathrop 1963


PIC Bancroft, George Author 1910 Adlai S. Hardin 1964
PIC Beecher, Henry Ward Clergyman 1900 Joseph Kiselewski 1963
PIC Bell, Alexander Graham Inventor 1950 Stanley Martineau 1963
PIC Boone, Daniel Explorer 1915 C. Paul Jennewein 1966
PIC Booth, Edwin Thomas Artist 1925 Agop Agopff 1970
PIC Brooks, Phillips Clergyman 1910 Abram Belskie 1965
PIC Bryant, William Cullen Author 1910 Agop Agopff 1967


PIC Channing, William E. Clergyman 1900 Albert W. Wein 1968
PIC Choate, Rufus Lawyer 1915 Eleanor Platt 1973
PIC Clay, Henry Statesman 1900 John Terken 1973
PIC Clemens, Samuel L. Author 1920 C. Paul Jennewein 1963
PIC Cleveland, Grover Statesman 1935 Albert P. d'Andrea 1966
PIC Cooper, James Fenimore Author 1910 Granville Carter 1963
PIC Cooper, Peter Philantropist 1900 Anthony de Francisci 1963
PIC Cushman, Charlotte S. Artist 1915 Robert A. Weinman 1974


PIC Eads, James Buchanan Engineer 1920 Robert A. Weinman 1971
PIC Edison, Thomas Alva Inventor 1960 Granville Carter 1965
PIC Edwards, Jonathan Preacher 1900 Elisabeth Chandler 1972
PIC Emerson, Ralph Waldo Author 1900 Dexter Jones 1968


PIC Farragut, David Glasgow Military 1900 Laci de Gerenday 1967
PIC Foster, Stephen Collins Artist 1940 Walker Hancock 1963
PIC Franklin, Benjamin Statesman 1900 Elisabeth Chandler 1963
PIC Fulton, Robert Inventor 1900 Ralph J. Menconi 1966


PIC Gibbs, Josiah Willard Scientist 1950 Stanley Martineau 1964
PIC Gorgas, William C. Physician 1950 Abram Belskie 1969
PIC Grant, Ulysses Simpson Military 1900 Thomas H. Jones 1963
PIC Gray, Asa Scientist 1900 Bruno Mankowski 1972


PIC Hamilton, Alexander Statesman 1915 Margaret C. Grigor 1971
PIC Hawthorne, Nathaniel Author 1900 Michael Lantz 1965
PIC Henry, Joseph Scientist 1915 Adlai S. Hardin 1972
PIC Henry, Patrick Statesman 1920 Thomas Lo Medico 1966
PIC Holmes, Oliver Wendell Jr. Lawyer 1965 Joseph Kiselewski 1970
PIC Holmes, Oliver Wendell Sr. Author 1915 Michael Lantz 1965
PIC Hopkins, Mark Educator 1915 Joseph E. Renier 1963
PIC Howe, Elias Inventor 1915 Frank Gasparro 1971


PIC Irving, Washington Author 1900 Adolph Block 1968


PIC Jackson, Andrew Statesman 1910 Michael Lantz 1971
PIC Jackson, T.J. "Stonewall" Military 1955 Granville Carter 1972
PIC Jefferson, Thomas Statesman 1900 Sidney B. Waugh 1963
PIC Jones, John Paul Military 1925 Michael Lantz 1968


PIC Kent, James Lawyer 1900 Eleanor Platt 1968


PIC Lanier, Sidney Author 1945 Julian H. Harris 1969
PIC Lee, Robert E. Military 1900 Donald DeLue 1965
PIC Lincoln, Abraham Statesman 1900 Anthony de Francisci 1963
PIC Longfellow, Henry W. Author 1900 Anthony Notaro 1970
PIC Lowell, James Russell Author 1905 Carl C. Mose 1970
PIC Lyon, Mary Education 1905 Laura G. Fraser &
Karl Gruppe


PIC MacDowell, Edward A. Artist 1960 C. Paul Jennewein 1964
PIC Madison, James Statesman 1905 Robert A. Weinman 1969
PIC Mann, Horace Educator 1900 C. Paul Jennewein 1971
PIC Marshall, John Lawyer 1900 Karl Gruppe 1965
PIC Maury, Matthew Fontaine Scientist 1930 Donald DeLue 1974
PIC Michelson, Albert Scientist 1970 Elisabeth Chandler 1973
PIC Mitchell, Maria Scientist 1905 Eleanor Platt 1965
PIC Monroe, James Statesman 1930 C. Paul Jennewein 1968
PIC Morse, Samuel F.B. Inventor 1900 C. Paul Jennewein 1963
PIC Morton, William T.G. Physician 1920 Abram Belskie 1966
PIC Motley, John Lothrop Author 1910 C. Paul Jennewein 1970


PIC Newcomb, Simon Scientist 1935 Adolph Block 1970


PIC Paine, Thomas Author 1945 Michael Lantz 1969
PIC Palmer, Alice Freeman Educator 1920 Thomas Lo Medico 1964
PIC Parkman, Francis Author 1915 Edward R. Grove 1971
PIC Peabody, George Philantropist 1900 Abram Belskie 1974
PIC Penn, William Statesman 1935 Edward R. Grove 1966
PIC Poe, Edgar Allan Author 1910 Michael Lantz 1963


PIC Reed, Walter Physician 1945 Abram Belskie 1963
PIC Roosevelt, Theodore Statesman 1950 Albino Manca 1969


PIC Saint-Gaudens, Augustus Artist 1920 Stanley Martineau 1971
PIC Sherman, William T. Military 1905 Michael Lantz 1973
PIC Story, Joseph Lawyer 1900 Nathaniel Choate 1964
PIC Stowe, Harriet Beecher Author 1910 Michael Lantz 1975
PIC Stuart, Gilbert C. Artist 1900 Laura G. Fraser &
Karl Gruppe


PIC Thayer, Sylvanus Educator 1965 Joseph Kiselewski 1966
PIC Thoreau, Henry David Author 1960 Malvina Hoffman 1963


PIC Wald, Lillian Humanitarian 1970 EvAngelos Frudakis 1971
PIC Washington, Booker T. Educator 1945 Ralph J. Menconi 1970
PIC Washington, George Statesman 1900 Granville Carter 1966
PIC Webster, Daniel Statesman 1900 Robert A, Weinman 1966
PIC Westinghouse, George Inventor 1955 Edmondo Quattrocchi 1963
PIC Whistler, James A.M. Artist 1930 Stanley Martineau 1972
PIC Whitman, Walt Author 1930 Dexter Jones 1971
PIC Whitney, Eli Inventor 1900 Eleanor Platt 1963
PIC Whittier, John Greenleaf Author 1905 Elizabeth Weistrop 1966
PIC Willard, Emma Educator 1905 Robert A. Weinman 1968
PIC Willard, Frances E. Humanitarian 1910 C. Paul Jennewein 1969
PIC Williams, Roger Clergyman 1920 Robert A. Weinman 1963
PIC Wilson, Woodrow Statesman 1950 C. Paul Jennewein 1966
PIC Wright Brothers
   (Orville and Wilber)
Inventors 1955
Paul Fjelde 1967

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MCA Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University Collector's Guide
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ã Copyright Medal Collectors of America   -  2004-2007