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SOM#026, Brenda Putman, Flight, 1942
From the collection of John Birks

Numbers Issued: 759 bronze, 100 silver


Although this medal is issued during a period when the entire world is engaged in a gigantic struggle on land, at sea, and in the air, the theme of the medal is not warlike. The lad is no warrior, and the bird no eagle. Rather does the design concern itself with man's creative struggle to win supremacy in a vast new region, -- the air. The war proves only too well the appalling destructive power of fighting and bombing planes. But beyond the war -- and there will surely be a beyond -- there are infinite possibilities for constructive and humanitarian activities in man's conquest of the air.

One side of the medal, therefore, pays tribute to every aspiring youth who fashions his model plane, and discovers for himself why it flies -- or doesn't. the other side shows a bird in efflortless flight, -- the basic inspiration for one of man's latest and greatest achievements.


Brenda Putnam was born in Minnesota, but acquired her artistic training in the East at the Boston Museum School, the Corcoran Art School in Washington, and the Art Students League of New York. Save for two years of study in Italy, she has lived and worked in New York. She is a member of the National Academy, the National Sculpture Society, and the National Association of Women Artists.

Her work has received many awards, including the National Academy's Barnett Prize and Watrous Gold Medal; the Architectural League's Avery Prize; and the Pennsylvania Academy's Widener Medal. Although she was at one time chiefly noted for her studies of babies and garden figures, her scope has broadened to include: Portrait busts of musicians such as Pablo Casals, Ossig Gabrilowitsch and Wanda Landowska; medals for the National Association of Women Artists, The National Social Hygiene Association, the Medal of the Month Club (Amelia Earhart), and the Cleveland Centennial Half Dollar. She has also designed large reliefs for Post Offices in Caldwell, N. J. and St. Cloud, Minn.
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