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Archives on the Air 309: Mrs. Money – Nellie Tayloe Ross Papers

Nellie Tayloe Ross is remembered for being Wyoming’s first and only female governor. It is less well known that she spent most of her career in Washington D.C. as the first female Director of the U.S. Mint.

Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to the position in 1933.

She served in that role for twenty years, under 3 presidents, both Democrat and Republican.

Her responsibilities included overseeing the manufacturing of billions of coins at mints in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. She was also in charge of the U.S. gold and silver depositories, including the famous Fort Knox.

At first, some of the mint’s 500 employees rebelled at the idea of a woman director. Ross was a no-nonsense manager and she quickly got rid of the naysayers. Politicians appreciated her fiscally responsible approach to managing the money the government appropriated for mint operations.

Read the Nellie Tayloe Ross papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about her career at the U.S. Mint.