The Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association was the organization that sponsored and distributed the 1925 commemorative half-dollar that was struck to mark the start of work on the Stone Mountain monument (in 1923) and to honor US President Warren G. Harding who had died in office but under who's administration work on the monument had begun. (See my previous post for more information regarding the half-dollar: http://goccf.com/t/119791)
The primary mission of the Association was to have a fitting and enduring monument that honored the "the valor and self-sacrifice displayed in such boundless measure by the men and women of the South in 1861-65" carved into the granite face of Stone Mountain (outside of Atlanta, Georgia). To support this effort, the Association initiated multiple fundraising efforts in the early 1920s.Read More: Commems Collection
The first was the "Founders Roll Plan." This was a program that required a $1,000 donation to the Association (quite a large sum in 1923 â€" the equivalent of over $13,500 in 2012 dollars); a five-year payment plan was available. In exchange for the donation, each benefactor would be "entitled to one of the Memorial Tablets in the Memorial Hall" to be constructed along with the carved monument. Note: The Memorial Hall was never built, but the names of subscribers to the plan were added to the â€˜Book of Memory' (see below).
The second program was the "Children's Founders Roll" which was targeted at those under the age of 18. It required a donation of $1.00 in exchange for a bronze medal designed by Gutzon Borglum and struck by Whitehead and Hoag. Children would also receive a certificate of membership in the "Children's Founders Roll" and would "...have the right to have their names enrolled on the Book of Memory, each subscriber on a line to himself or herself and opposite his or her name is inscribed the name of the Confederate soldier, or woman of the Confederacy, selected by the subscriber and to honor whose memory his or her subscription or gift is made."
The third program is likely the one of which US coin collectors are most familiar â€" the striking of a memorial half-dollar. The idea for the coin did not originate within the Association, however. Harry Stillwell Edwards - a journalist and novelist from Macon, Georgia - presented a plan for a commemorative coin to the Association; it was well-received and soon acted upon. Interestingly, the proposal for the coin was presented to President Calvin Coolidge before it was delivered to Congress. It was only after the Association received Coolidge's endorsement did it proceed through "proper channels" and have the appropriate bills introduced into the House and Senate.
My focus tonight is on the first Children's Founders Roll medal (there are two types). As noted above, it was designed by Gutzon Borglum, the original designer/sculptor of the planned Confederate Monument. The medal was struck in bronze and was octagonal â€" I wonder if it in any way influenced the octagonal shape chosen for the 1925 Norse-American Centennial medal?
The obverse of the medal depicts General "Stonewall" Jackson, General Robert E. Lee and Confederate States President Jefferson Davis (from left to right) on horseback as per the original design for the Stone Mountain carving. Note that the depiction of Lee and Jackson on the medal is similar but not the same as it is on the half-dollar (not counting the fact that Davis is not seen on the half-dollar).
Inscriptions on the medal's reverse indicate its connection to the Association's Children's Founders Roll and the purpose of the Monument. The manufacturer's name â€" â€˜Whitehead and Hoag' - is seen at the six o'clock position on the reverse.
The medal features eight stars each on the obverse and reverse at each of the octagon's points. The stars, counter to their frequent meaningful use on US commemoratives, do not appear to have any meaningful connection to the South or Confederacy of the Civil War era. The Confederate States of America were originally formed by seven states seceding from the Union (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas), a number that grew to eleven when Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia also seceded. I guess the stars just "looked good" in each corner.
Enjoy!1924 Stone Mountain Association Children's Founders Roll Medal, Type I â€" Obverse1924 Stone Mountain Association Children's Founders Roll Medal, Type I â€" Reverse1925 Stone Mountain Association Commemorative Half-Dollar â€" Obverse1925 Stone Mountain Association Commemorative Half-Dollar â€" ReverseOriginal Plan for Stone Mountain MonumentThe quotes included above about the Association's objective and fundraising programs were taken from an address given by Hollins N. Randolph, President of the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association, to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in November, 1924.