Maria Tallchief Quarter
The Maria Tallchief Quarter is the 10th coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program. Maria Tallchief was the first American prima ballerina. She broke barriers as a Native American ballerina exhibiting strength and resilience both on and off the stage.
Tallchief was born on January 24, 1925 in Fairfax, Oklahoma on the Osage reservation. She began dance lessons as a young girl and excelled at dance and playing piano.
At the age of 17, she moved to New York City to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer. She was selected as an apprentice in the Ballet Russe, the premier Russian ballet company in the United States.
In 1942, when one of the lead ballerinas could not perform, Tallchief was called to stand in. Her reviews from top critics enabled her career to take off. She later became the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet.
Maria Tallchief died on April 11, 2013. She and her husband George Balanchine transformed American classical ballet.
The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday. A recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design.
The reverse (tails) depicts Maria Tallchief spotlit in balletic pose. Her Osage name, which translates to “Two Standards,” is written in Osage orthography.
- IN GOD WE TRUST
- UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- E PLURIBUS UNUM
- QUARTER DOLLAR
- MARIA TALLCHIEF
- Her name written in Osage orthography
Mint and Mint Mark
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- Laura Gardin Fraser (1889-1966)