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Joseph Pulitzer Establishes The Pulitzer Prize

Both sides of the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal

Both sides of the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal

On June 4, 1917 the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded by Columbia University School of Journalism, funded by $250,000 left in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who also gave money to launch the Columbia School of Journalism. Pulitzer specified "four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education, and four traveling scholarships." 

The website says this about the Pulitzer Medal:

"The iconic Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal is awarded each year to the American news organization that wins the Public Service category. It is never awarded to an individual. However, through the years, the Medal has come to symbolize the entire Pulitzer program.

"In 1918, a year after the Prizes began, the medal was designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French and his associate Henry Augustus Lukeman. French later gained fame for his seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. One side of the medal displays the profile of Benjamin Franklin, apparently based on the bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Decorating the other side is a husky, bare-chested printer at work, his shirt draped across the end of a press. Surrounding the printer are the words: "For disinterested and meritorious public service rendered by an American newspaper during the year…."

"The name of the winning news organization is inscribed on the Franklin side of the medal. The year of the award is memorialized on the other side.

"The medal, about two and three-quarter inches in diameter and a quarter-inch thick, is not solid gold. It is silver with 24-carat gold plate and presented to the winning newspaper in an elegant cherry-wood box with brass hardware."




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