Why are U.S. coins not numeric? How would you expect visitors know what a “dime” stands for as an example?!
Asked by Beth on Facebook.
U.S. coins list the amount on the reverse side of the coin. For example, a penny says “one cent” on the back and a nickel says “five cents.” But why does the dime says “one dime” instead of “ten cents”?
According to the U.S. Mint, the inscription “one dime” first appeared on the coin in 1837. The word dime is based on the Latin word “decimus,” meaning “one tenth.” The French used the word “disme” (pronounced the same as it is today) when they came up with the idea of money divided into ten parts in the 1500s.
Before the introduction of the nickel (5-cent coin), the U.S. actually had a half dime coin, with the words “half dime” inscribed on it. We checked with the U.S. Mint and they think that the use of “one dime” could have simply been a common inscription between the two coins.
Designs chosen for U.S. circulating coins are generally mandated by Congress and the law specifies that certain words and images must appear. Learn more about what’s required and the process for changing the design of a coin.
From the National Archives:
Did you know that President Ford signed legislation to ensure Veterans Day wouldn’t fall on Monday every year?
Since World War I the United States traditionally commemorated Veterans Day on November 11, which had formerly been recognized as Armistice Day. The “Monday holiday” law passed in 1968 established a uniform holiday schedule for the Federal Government but as a consequence moved the observance of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.
Although the official Federal holiday was observed on Mondays for several years many people continued to hold commemorations on November 11 as well. In September 1975 President Ford signed into law S.331 officially designating the original date as Veterans Day.
“I believe restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 will help preserve in the hearts and lives of all Americans the spirit of patriotism, the love of country and the willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good symbolized by this very special day,” President Ford said in his signing statement.
-from the Ford Library
Whether you have local elections today or not, take a look at some campaign song blasts from the past.
Image Description: Luna Park in Coney Island, New York in 1904. Stereographs, such as this one, consist of two nearly identical images that have been paired to produce the illusion of a single three-dimensional image when viewed through a device called a stereoscope.
See more from the Library of Congress’s stereograph collection.
Image from the Library of Congress
From the National Archives:
Cranks, Crack-pots, and Martians
"I suppose that by this time you have received many letters from numerous cranks and crack-pots who quickly became jitterbugs during the program. I was one of the thousands who heard this program and:
- did not jump out of the window,
- did not attempt suicide,
- did not break my arm while beating a hasty retreat from my apartment,
- did not anticipate a horrible death,
- did not hear the Martians “rapping on my chamber door”,
- did not see the monsters landing in war-like regalia in the park across the street…”
—Letter dated November 1, 1938, from J. V. Yaukey of Aberdeen, South Dakota, to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the evening of October 30, 1938.
75 years ago on October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, Not everyone took to the streets however, and many, like the writer of this letter, felt that others were overreacting.
via Prologue: "Jitterbugs" and "Crack-pots" Letters to the FCC about the “War of the Worlds” Broadcast