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The Gold Medal

The Gold Meal of the National Institute of Social Sciences was designed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966). Born in Chicago and raised in Connecticut, Gardin trained in sculpture in the Art Students League of New York with the noted sculptor James Earle Fraser, who she later married. As a student, she won the Saint-Gaudens Figure Prize, then went on to teach at the Art Students League.

Gardin Fraser also designed the Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar, the George Washington Bicentennial Medal, and the Benjamin Franklin Congressional Medal, among many others. Although primarily known for her medals, she also sculpted the double equestrian Jackson and Lee Monument in Baltimore.

The Institute’s Gold Medal was produced in time for the Institute’s first awards dinner in 1913, which honored Archer M. Huntington, Samuel L. Parrish, and William Howard Taft.