WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is on track to announce by the end of this year which woman will become the first on U.S. paper currency in more than a century.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew set off a furor in June when he announced that he would replace the portrait of Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman. He said a month later that Treasury had gotten more than 1.5 million responses commenting on the change, everything from tweets to handwritten letters.
Treasury officials are not saying which famous women are in the running to be placed on the $10 bill, but one senior official said Friday that many of the letters have included passionate arguments.
The official said that Treasury had gotten comments in support of a number of women who have played an important role in American history, going back to the founding of the country, ranging through the Civil War and up to the modern era. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to speak publicly about the currency redesign process before an announcement is made.
Treasury has asked for comments not just about which woman should go on the $10 bill, but also about what will be the best way to depict the theme of democracy.
The Treasury official said that he believes 99 percent of the public would not be able to answer correctly when asked what buildings are on opposite sides of the $10 and $20 bills. For the $10 bill, it is the U.S. Treasury Department on the side opposite Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary. The $20 bill has Andrew Jackson on the portrait side and the White House on the other side.
Treasury is looking into replacing those buildings with more memorable images that would tell the story of American democracy in a more compelling way.
The Treasury official told reporters that while the $10 bill will be the first to be redesigned, the plan is to redesign other major currency denominations in coming years.
Lew said in June that the goal is to announce which woman will go on the $10 bill by the end of this year with the total redesign completed by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.