user_86205's Blog

28 Jul 2018

Who was Hermon Atkins MacNeil?

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_86205

Out in a farm in Everett, Massachusetts, Hermon Atkins MacNeil was born on February 27th, 1866. He began art classes at a school in a large city of Boston, Massachusetts. Hermon would later graduate form the school and attend a university. While at Cornell University, he continued to learn and grow in multiple areas of art as a young adult. After this, Hermon moved to Europe to master sculpting, modeling, and other forms of art. He settled in France for a couple of years and attended well known schools to increase his mastery in the skill. Hermon returned to America to work with Frederick MacMonnies and Lorado Taft. He took the role of teaching at the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually started his own art studio. A typical work of art by Hermon produced Native Americans. Over time his respect for natives increased. He even traveled to tribes to recreate artwork and pictures for them. At the young age of twenty-nine, Hermon married Carol Louise Brooks who was also a sculptor. Their wedding took place on Christmas Day, 1885. The following year, Hermon received a scholarship allowing the newly wed couple to move to Rome. There they had a son and Hermon started another art studio. After completing pieces of art, they traveled again back to Paris, France. As he traveled around, his reputation increased as he made more and more art. From there he settled back in United States of America. Here Hermon created many works of art to be displayed at various expositions. The United States mint directory which was Robert Woolley at the time, was pushing for new coin designs. Hermon entered the contest for the new quarter design. A famous man named Adolph Weinman at the same time entered his designed. Adolph's were chosen for the United States dime and half dollar. Hermon's design was liberty holding a shield and an olive branch. This is today called the Standing Liberty Quarter. His intent with the design was to symbolize that the United States wanted peace during World War I. Also, the shield represented that they would fight if needed. He wasn't happy about all of the changes wanted by Director Friedrich von Engelken. Hermon placed changes he wanted on the Standing Liberty Quarter, resulting in a type II. Hermon's inspiration was based off of Doris Doscher for his Standing Liberty. This design lasted for fourteen years, and ended at the start of the Great Depression, in 1930. This was to be his only United States coin, but his work didn't stop there. He completed work on the United States Supreme Court building, the Pony Express, and competed in several contests. He lived in his home and art studio till his death. He died at the age of 81. Hermon Atkins MacNeil completed many accomplishments in his life full of art and sculpting.




Level 4

Again, a great blog post! I had never heard of him! I was born in Boston as well. ~Matt

I doubt the mint would allow such an ornamental coin today. Art was always at odds with the mint. The St. Gauden's $20 gold is a prime example.


Level 6

SL quarter 1 of the most beautiful coins, but it did not wear well.


Level 6

Thanks for the information!

Thank you, I did not know much about this.

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