Wiener Letters


The Golda Meir Medal, issued in 1978


Gerta begins her preparation for the Golda Meir medal (8/8/76) by asking: “ … where could I see medals or coins of Golda Meir that have been done – at least photos of them, because I (don’t) want to repeat … something done before.”


And then Ms. Wiener reported (8/20/76) that: “… Golda Meir has sent me 3 good photos of herself – selected as ones she likes!” 


Gerta searched for a suitable quote. In an undated letter (c. 11/14/76), she writes: “I’ve read 4 books on Golda and picked some things she said in speeches that I feel would be fine for the reverse of the medal. I think on this medal the quote should be the main thing, with just a number of characteristic heads of several types of Israel’s neighbors over the quotation. Which (quote) do you like best?”



Golda sketch for reverse (c. 11-14-76)


I wanted a slight variation (“Let all of us – united -- fight poverty and disease and illiteracy”) of a portion of the following: “Can we, from now on – all of us – turn a new leaf and, instead of fighting with each other, can we all, united, fight poverty and disease and illiteracy?” Gerta was concerned about this variation, writing (12/17/76): “I don’t know if one can change quotations – even if it’s only one word! Is it permissible?”


Since many of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals featured the signatures of the honorees, Wiener writes (1/12/77): “I am leaving the name off for the time being, because I want to use Golda’s signature instead of raised printed letters. But I was not able to get the signature from anyone, including the Israeli Consulate. So—I am going to go to Israel and ask Golda for it myself! And also ask her what motto, quote or whatever she would like to have on the reverse of the medal!”


Gerta sends a photo of the preliminary portrait (2/25/77), saying: “Here at last you have the photo of my Golda Meir as it is now. I do think it is good.”



Golda preliminary plaster model for reverse (2-25-77)


In a post card from Israel, Gerta indicates (3/15/77): “I could not see Golda, only her friend and secretary, who had no suggestions for the reverse side of the medal, but said: ‘That’s up to you.’ But she will send her signature, so that’s something.”


Ms. Wiener readily agreed to a change (4/9/77), writing: “I’m glad you told me about your wanting the birth date and the ‘in honor of her 80th birthday’ on the medal now, before I start to put her name on! I agree with you that the addition is essential, and with some change in the design I’ll be able to include it without spoiling the medal. In fact, it will improve it and emphasize the face. I already ‘faded out’ the shoulders, but shall wait with putting in the lettering until you come. But I don’t have her full birth date, only 1898 (which is mine too!).



Golda preliminary sketches for obverse (4-9-77)


After modifying the portrait and adding the birthday inscription (without Golda’s signature), Gerta expresses her satisfaction with the work and also her apprehension about the final medals (6/6/77): “I think I have succeeded in making an artistically good medal. You know I don’t say that easily – and I would be very much disappointed if it would be spoiled in the reproduction.”



Golda bronze medal



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