BackStory is a public radio show and podcast hosted by Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. We take a topic and try to find the most interesting stories to help give that topic context through three centuries of American history.

The show is broadcast weekly. Check us out on iTunes, Facebook, or at backstoryradio.org.

That jaw! Those eyes! That hair! If the $10 bill is anything to go by, Alexander Hamilton was one of our handsomest Founding Fathers. But Hamilton’s had a bit of help over the years from artists at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing – resulting in a “Hollywoodized” Hamilton, as biographer Ron Chernow labeled it. In 2010, Newsweek even asked a plastic surgeon to give his assessment of the rather substantial changes in Hamilton’s portrait from the 1914 version (at left), to the redesign in 2000 (center), and the updated 2005 $10 bill (at right). Hotness definitely INCREASING! 

Is this a little institutional bias toward the first Secretary of the Treasury, perhaps? Just something we’re thinking about as we work on our history of money show!

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    White beauty via white institutional power.
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