PDA

View Full Version : Disheveled hair on first US penny led to its redesign: short article



Entangled
February 6th, 2016, 11:11 AM
Here's another article with a hair-related tidbit. Apparently, the first US penny featured a woman personifying Liberty. To continue with that idea, they let her hair down and had it flowing unrestrained. Unfortunately, that in combination with her almost horrified expression led people to demand a redesign.
http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=74975 (http://m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=74975)

I think it's interesting to read about historical perspectives in the small way they color perception. Now, nobody would blink or even reconsider an image with a woman's hair loose. It's a given that it will be. During older times, the expectation would be to see a woman's hair up.

Wavelength
February 6th, 2016, 11:43 AM
I think it's interesting to read about historical perspectives in the small way they color perception. Now, nobody would blink or even reconsider an image with a woman's hair loose. It's a given that it will be. During older times, the expectation would be to see a woman's hair up.

I think it had less to do with her hair being down, and more about the fact that her hair looks like she's been caught in a hurricane. Not to mention her wide, bug-eyed, slightly crazed expression. It reminds me of the witches in Macbeth, or Bellatrix from Harry Potter (http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Bellatrix_Lestrange).

missrandie
February 6th, 2016, 11:47 AM
I think it had less to do with her hair being down, and more about the fact that her hair looks like she's been caught in a hurricane. Not to mention her wide, bug-eyed, slightly crazed expression. It reminds me of the witches in Macbeth, or Bellatrix from Harry Potter (http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Bellatrix_Lestrange).

Bahahahaha I was thinking she looked more like she just stuck her finger in a light socket.

I agree, it's probably less about the flowing locks and more about the overall bucket full of crazy look. If you look at the next iteration of the penny, Lady Liberty still has her hair down, but looks less crazed.

meteor
February 6th, 2016, 12:07 PM
Wow! I found it fascinating.
I'm surprised the hair was the reason the penny was changed. :bigeyes: The hair was not even matted or anything, just wavy free-flowing hair facing the wind - lots of pictures like that in the 18th c. :shrug:

Honestly, I would be more surprised to see "Liberty" portrayed with a neat smooth updo and a calm, satisfied facial expression. :lol: But then again, 1793 was still fresh from revolutionary times in the US, while later, expectations for propriety must have changed more towards Victorian aesthetics, requiring more contained and controlled hair...?
There are lots of interesting portrayals of Liberty out there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_(goddess), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marianne, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_cent_(United_States_coin)...

Entangled
February 6th, 2016, 12:11 PM
Bahahahaha I was thinking she looked more like she just stuck her finger in a light socket.

I agree, it's probably less about the flowing locks and more about the overall bucket full of crazy look. If you look at the next iteration of the penny, Lady Liberty still has her hair down, but looks less crazed.

Indeed! They're right-- she looks lightning struck. I just thought it interesting that the hair was part of their artistic decision process. Thank goodness they got rid of it! I just thought it neat how hair contributed.

spidermom
February 6th, 2016, 09:21 PM
Judging by her expression, she could see into the future to the Republican debates.