Featured 1923 Monroe Doctrine Centennial Celebration

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by leeg, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    About time I shared a little more history:

    February 2015 Numismatist p 35 B  1.png

    Courtesy of The Numismatist, February 2015, p. 35.

    The centennial of the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine was celebrated on July 2 thru August 5, 1923, at Los Angeles, California. The motion-picture industry was the force behind the celebration as an historical revue and motion-picture exposition commemorating events in our national history were shown, and the proceeds from the sale of half-dollars contributed toward financing this project.

    enunciation: To state or set forth precisely or systematically: enunciate a doctrine.

    To Produce Historical Exposition

    One Hundredth Anniversary of Monroe Doctrine to be Commemorated

    Plans for the First Annual American Revue and Motion-Picture Industrial Exposition, under the auspices of the Motion-Picture Producers’ Association of Los Angeles, are rapidly nearing perfection.

    In brief, it is the intention of the motion-picture industry to hold a great national celebration in commemoration of the Monroe Doctrine. This celebration will be held for thirty days next June, and will comprise the historical revue presented in tabloid and melodrama form on the largest stage ever built, and industrial exhibits. The revue is of such magnitude that at least thirty days will be necessary for its production. Among the historical events to be produced will be ‘The Discovery of America,’ ‘The First English Settlement,’ ‘The First Continental Congress,’ ‘The Founding of the Army and Navy,’ ‘The Birth of the American Flag,’ and ‘The Declaration of Independence.’

    The art of music will be emphasized through the entire review by one of the most complete, instructive and entertaining presentations ever given. It will consist of ‘The Evolution of Music,’ going back to the past when music ‘soothed the savage beast’ and following its course down through the ages to the finished symphonies of today.

    Practically every motion-picture company in Southern California, as well as nearly every association connected with the industry in any way, is represented on the advisory council of the Motion-Picture Producers’ Association of Los Angeles, the organization backing the exposition.

    The plan has been given the indorsement of the Governor of California, the Mayor, Council, Chamber of Commerce, Realty Board and Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.”1

    1 Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1922.
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  3. Rushmore

    Rushmore Coin Addict

    From my collection: 20200211_201535.jpg 20200211_201525.jpg
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  4. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins


    February 2015 Numismatist p 36 C.png

    A flyer describes the event and the 1923-S commemorative half dollar in glowing terms. Image from The Numismatist, February 2015, p. 35.

    “As an indication of the lavishness with which preparations are being conducted, a special train, appropriately painted and decorated, and luxuriously appointed, for the personal and business convenience of its distinguished passengers, is being planned by the American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Exposition to bring to Los Angeles for the premiere of the event next summer the President of the United States, members of his official family, the diplomat corps from Latin America, a Congressional delegation, the United States Marine Band, and the Director General of the Pan-American Union.

    These men and their wives will be the guests of Los Angeles and of the Revue and Exposition from the time they leave Washington until they arrive home again. Davison, with Mayor George E. Cryer of Los Angeles, visited Washington in December and extended to the President and many high members of officialdom there, personal invitations to be present at the Revue and Exposition premiere. These Invitations were accepted almost without exception.

    Harding Expresses Desire To Attend

    President Harding exhibited the greatest enthusiasm over the motion picture industry’s project to stage a great international celebration suitably commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine. He declared he would surely be present at the formal opening, unless unforeseen developments in the affairs of his office made it imperative for him to remain in Washington. It has been known for some time that the President is desirous of making a trip to the Pacific Coast and Alaska and it is thought practically assured that his plans will be adjusted to permit his presence in Los Angeles for the premiere of the Revue and Exposition.

    It is planned to have all cars of this train repainted to bear the Monroe Doctrine Centennial design. Club cars and diners will be added to the Pullman sleepers to give the passengers every convenience of a modern hotel. Provision will also be made for the busy officials to bring along a sufficient corps of stenographers and secretaries to attend to urgent business of their several positions while en route.

    The Washington delegation will probably arrive just prior to the Revue and Exposition premiere, an event whose originality and social brilliance is expected to eclipse anything ever attempted before anywhere.

    Tentative Program

    The tentative program of the premiere is as follows:

    From 8 until 9 p. m., electrical parade with stars and queens in illuminated throne floats;
    From 9 to 10 p. m., official inspection of the Revue and Exposition by the President, other visiting celebrities and stars and queens;
    From 10 p. m. until 12 o’clock, stars’ and queens’ ball;

    At midnight the President will proclaim the official opening and the queen of the premiere will press a ‘button’ to ignite the first bomb of a gorgeous pyrotechnic display; the festivities will last until daybreak, when taps will be blown for the premiere and reveille for the opening of the Revue and Exposition. The month to follow will comprise a fiesta of literature, music, history and art. The history of the New World will be shown in pageantry, from the discovery of this continent by Columbus until President Monroe’s historic proclamation in 1823 that has guaranteed the territorial integrity of the three Americas from European aggression for the past century.

    Will Be Filmed

    It is planned also to film this story, filling in the series of pageants with greater detail to give it continuity. With the fruition of these ambitious plans the motion picture industry of today feels it will have left succeeding generations an educational legacy of incalculable value, for the world may then get from the screen an authentic account of American history that will be of absorbing interest.

    Elaborate Plans for Horse Show

    What is expected to be the greatest horse show ever held in the West is being planned for the second week of the exposition. Blooded horses from all parts of the world are expected to be entered in this event.

    Negotiations are now under way for a palatial ‘horse’ train running from New York to Los Angeles and return to bring Eastern entries. In addition to New York’s thoroughbreds, the train will bring contingents from Kentucky and Virginia. Tentative plans are also being made for entries from Buenos Ayres and Rio de Janeiro. These foreign horses will be shipped by boat to New York and thence to Los Angeles by this special transcontinental train.

    Southern California particularly is expected to make a strong bid for honors at this horse show against Eastern and foreign competition. There are many fine stables in Los Angeles and environs and at Coronado, Santa Barbara and Monterey. It is expected various army posts on the Pacific Coast will be represented in different parts of the show.

    The coming revue and exposition will be held in Exposition Park, where the new Los Angeles Coliseum is now nearing completion. This huge stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 80,000 persons. A group of buildings of striking originality and beauty of design will be erected adjoining the Coliseum. In such a setting, and with the wealth of artistic and dramatic talent for entertainment from which the motion picture industry has to draw, the big event next summer is expected to eclipse anything of its kind ever attempted.”2

    2 The American Cinematographer, Extensive Plans Being Laid For Exposition in June; Train From Washington To Bring Diplomats, February, 1923 p. 14 & 24.
  5. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Sounds like a month long version of the Academy Awards. Really had nothing to do with the Centennial of the Monroe Doctrine, just an exhibition to celebrate themselves and they cast about for something to hang a coin on, to have someone else help pay for their self love event.
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  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Here is the piece in my type set. It's graded MS-64.

    MonroeO.JPG MonroeR.JPG
  7. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    For those curious, the Monroe is not known in PL. I would very much like to see one, though!
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  8. Skyman

    Skyman Well-Known Member

  9. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I don't think I've got a single graded example of this coin......

    DSC_1251.JPG DSC_1252.JPG
    gronnh20, slackaction1, leeg and 3 others like this.
  10. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder

    Beautiful example, Skyman! These aren't often seen with nice color.
    Thanks for the thread and history, LeeG
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  11. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    The Los Angeles Rubber Stamp Company produced this token in conjunction with the Monroe Doctrine Centennial.

    They also managed to misspell "Doctrine" as "Doctrone".

    Los Angeles Rubber Stamp Company Monroe Doctrine Token
    Aluminum, 35 mm, 3.87 gm
    President James Monroe facing half left
    Los Angeles city emblem with flag, bear, eagle, castle, lion

    The Los Angeles Rubber Stamp Company manufactured many of these and other dollar-size tokens with President Monroe on them which were used as prop coins in motion pictures.

  12. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    February 2015 Numismatist p 37 D.png

    Francis B. Davison was named director-general of the exposition. Thirty years earlier, he had served as chief inspector and adjuster of the 1892-93 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Image from The Numismatist, February 2015, p. 37.

    “Virginia is watching California these days when preparations for the celebration of the Monroe Doctrine Centennial focus attention on Los Angeles. The American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Exposition, July 2 to August 4, will do honor to one of the great sons of this state, which has written so many brilliant pages into the history of the country.

    The fact that Francis B. Davison, the director general of the big California Revue and Exposition, has lived in Virginia and has been identified with some of its most progressive monuments gives assurance that in stressing the achievements of James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, the splendid influences of the state to which he belonged and to which he was always loyal, will not be forgotten.

    Mr. Davison is one of the few men who have chosen exposition work as a vocation for 30 years, ever since as a youth he went to the World’s Columbian Exposition as chief inspector and adjustor, he has concentrated his attention on what he believes is a most important educational medium.

    With this wide experience Mr. Davison has been able to plan something quite different from any previous exposition. For the first time in its history of about a quarter of a century the motion picture industry is to present a show all its own and it is promised that it will be as ‘different’ from all that have preceded it as the wonders of the screen are different from the old-fashioned means of entertainment.

    A Spanish-American city is to rise in Exposition Park in Los Angeles under the magic wand of the motion picture exposition management. As the Monroe Centennial celebration is to be international, enlisting the co-operation of all the American republics, the architecture has been chosen as typical of the bond connecting the early history and traditions of North and South America. The buildings will cover approximately 1,000,000 square feet of space. They will be colorful and charmingly grouped. The principal structures will face the Esplanade, 150 feet wide, which will lead from the main entrance to the great Community Coliseum now near completion. There will be a Woman’s Court with buildings surrounding patios situated on either side of the Esplanade. Here will be situated, also, and auditorium where morning congresses will be held. Men and women famous in the literary, educational and artistic world, leaders in club and welfare work, statesmen and reformers will speak at the congresses.

    Halfway between the main entrance and the peristyle of the coliseum there will be a circular plaza with a fountain in the center and high towers overlooking it. This will be the Court of the Americas. The coliseum will seat 80,000 persons. Here the evening programs will be presented on a stage that has been especially designed by F. B. Davison, director general. This stage, with three graduated levels, will solve many of the problems met with in all the modern bowls and stadiums.

    The design provides for a main level more than 200 feet square. This will be the largest stage ever provided for dramatic performances. The second level, which will be used for ballets and spectacles, will roof dressing rooms and spaces in which the floats and pageants can be prepared for exhibition. The bands and orchestras will occupy the uppermost level. The stage is suggestive of an Aztec temple and will be beautiful in the general effect.

    Every evening the program for the Historical Revue will be changed, material for the various episodes having been provided by the most careful research in which the universities of California have co-operated. Gorgeously costumed and brilliantly lighted, the groups on these floats will be most effective. They will be placed on revolving platforms that enable the audience to see them from every angle. Four floats will be shown at the same time and each will move from side to side of the big stage, so that the whole vast audience many see it.

    GettyImages-80683419 la.curbed.png

    The new ‘Coliseum’ in Los Angeles. The People's Playground, How the Memorial Coliseum put Los Angeles on the Map, Hadley Mears, July 21, 2016.

    As the floats appear they will be filmed, the pictures to be presented later in all the leading motion picture theatres of the world. When the Revue and Exposition close an immense new library of great educational value will be assembled. This wonderful collection of pictures will be a permanent contribution to history and will be appreciated by educators.

    The president of the United States has accepted an invitation to attend the opening of the Monroe Doctrine Centennial, and, unless official duties prevent, he will come to California on a special train provided by the management of the exposition for him and the distinguished party that will accompany him. This party will include members of the cabinet, diplomats, senators and representatives with the ladies of their families. So much interest has been manifested in the Premiere by members of the Congress and officials of the Federal government, which is strongly supporting the Monroe Doctrine Centennial, that it is probable a second special train will be needed to accommodate the Premiere guests from Washington.

    The fact that the government at Washington is deeply interested in the Revue and Exposition is emphasized by the issue of a special coin. This new fifty-cent piece will be ready in time to be put in circulation when the exposition opens. There will be an issue of 300,000 of these coins.”3

    3. Torrance (CA) Herald, Motion Picture Exposition and Revue; Coliseum to Seat 80,000; to Have Largest Stage In the World, March 30, 1923.
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  13. slackaction1

    slackaction1 Well-Known Member

    I am with ksparrow on this one nice read at at -3 temperature with a cup of joe.. thank all you guys……..
    leeg likes this.
  14. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    Madge Bellamy.png

    Madge Bellamy in the 1920s, Pinterest.

    “Plans for the Motion Picture Exposition, which will be held at Los Angeles from July 2 to August 4, in connection with the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine, are now centering on New York.

    Madge Bellamy, who has signed a three years’ contract to star in Thomas H. Ince productions, is the official representative of the Exposition and presented to Mayor Hylan an invitation from Mayor Cryer of Los Angeles to visit the city during the Celebration. Miss Bellamy is making one of the most remarkable tours in the history of motion pictures. She will visit more than 30 big cities and present to the mayors invitations similar to the one given Mayor Hylan. She also will visit Governors and other prominent state and national officials.

    Miss Bellamy was the forerunner of a big delegation from the Coast city. A number of motion picture stars are in the party, including Ruth Roland.”4

    4. Movie Picture World, Motion Picture Exposition Plans Centering in New York, March-April 1923, p. 808.

    “The American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Exposition, to be held in Los Angeles, July 2nd to August 4th, in celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, is rapidly approaching the form of its ultimate brilliance, according to announcements which carry interest for those interested in any phase of the cinema.

    The Spanish Colonial type of architecture, atmospheric of early Southern California days during the Latin influence, has been selected as official style for the centennial. Architects are completing plans for the construction of the various exposition buildings, work on which is scheduled to begin at an early date.

    ‘The Location’

    Originating in the well-known motion picture expression which signifies the shooting of scenes outside the confines of the studio, ‘The Location’ has been chosen to designate that portion of the forthcoming centennial that would have been known as the ‘midway’ in expositions of former years. Along ‘The Location’ will be placed the exhibits of the motion picture industry. Buildings erected for such exhibits will observe the Spanish Colonial type of architecture. The first exhibit to be reserved is that of the Rockett-Lincoln Film Company and calls for the reproduction of the cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born. The exposition replica of the Lincoln birthplace will be sheltered with a building erected overhead, after the fashion followed with the original cabin at Hodgenville, Kentucky. The Rockett exhibit will be provided with a vast number of Lincoln relics and documents which have been gathered in more than a year of research for the Rockett production of ‘The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln,’ which Phillip E. Rosen, A. S. C., is directing as one of the most extensive feature productions in motion picture annals and which is being photographed by Robert Kurrie, A. S. C.

    Technical and Art Departments Busy

    Among the other production companies which have reserved exhibits, the nature of which has not as yet been announced, are Universal, Pickford-Fairbanks, Christie, Metro, Hal Roach, and Louis B. Mayer. Unlike the attractions which lined the ‘midways’ of past expositions, the exhibits along ‘The Location’ will not require admission prices but will be open free of charge to all who attend the centennial.

    It is said that motion picture producers plan to make the buildings and features which line ‘The Location’ the most sumptuous that their resources can create. Art and technical departments of leading film companies are said to be working on assignments which seek to represent the motion picture industry at its highest in the various exhibits.

    Recognition for Unseen Screen Writers

    Since the art and technical workers in cinema work have been selected almost without exception as being outstanding figures in their lines of endeavor–many having been brought from great distances after having been persuaded to turn their talents to film production–it is claimed that the exhibits along ‘The Location’ will be unequalled in exposition grandeur. ‘The Location’ exhibits are construed as offering the opportunity for the work of the technical, art and other departments, which ply their professions unseen behind the scenes, to gain full public recognition, as it is believed that Los Angeles, at the time of the centennial, will hold the largest gathering of people ever assembled in Western America.

    The location of ‘The Location’ will fall into four divisions, describing a semi-circle about the Court of Honor which will be laid out in Exposition Park, in Los Angeles, where the centennial will be held. Approximately 100,000 feet will be embraced in these divisions.

    General Interest Attracted

    While the exposition is primarily of motion picture atmosphere, it is attracting a full measure of attention in professional, industrial, commercial exhibits, installed by business leaders who realize the advantages accruing from the patronage of the throngs which will attend the affair from every part of the country, will predominate, according to present indications. An exhibit and concession department is already actively at work attending to such details of the centennial.

    Pictures and Diplomats

    Educational and diplomatic interest is centered on the historical ramifications of the undertaking, since it commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine. A distinct diplomatic flavor is lent by the announcement that President Harding has accepted an invitation to be present at the exposition premiere on July 2nd and is expected to be attended on that occasion by his official family who will be conveyed to Los Angeles in a special trans-continental train. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are said to be planning to attend the affair in large numbers. Reports of their attendance are received enthusiastically throughout Southern California, a great potential field which may be improved in various ways by Congressional action. Representatives of the Latin American republics, whose territorial integrity has been protected for a century by the Monroe Doctrine, will be among the honored guests.

    Educators are evincing interest in the fact that the American Historical Revue division of the centennial will present in tabloid and pageant form highlights in American history as decided as such by a jury of eminent scholars and historians. These presentations, it is planned, will be filmed while they are being enacted as historically correct as research can determine and will be released for subsequent exhibition.

    Cinematography Called In

    This will be the first exposition in the world’s history where the exhibits and important happenings will be filmed. Plans for the filming are still in the embryo, but when completed will in themselves constitute a highlight in cinematographic undertaking.

    Cinematography Called In

    This will be the first exposition in the world’s history where the exhibits and important happenings will be filmed. Plans for the filming are still in the embryo, but when completed will in themselves constitute a highlight in cinematographic undertaking.

    This is the first instance wherein the motion picture industry as a whole has joined in the sponsoring of such an affair. Those participating in the affairs of the exposition number virtually every film organization and producing company in prominence.

    Stage and Coliseum Dimensions

    This coliseum, which will hold the exposition, was constructed at a cost of $1,000,000 and is said to be the largest ever built. The coliseum of Rome could be placed in its central space, it is said.

    This greatest of modern amphitheaters is elliptical in shape. It extends thirty feet below the natural ground level and fifty feet above it. There are eight-six exits and entrances beside the main entrance, which is beautiful in its classical simplicity. The peristyle is of stone and concrete and is 400 feet wide, its main arch being seventy-five feet high. The seating capacity of this magnificent coliseum is nearly 80,000, the famous Yale Bowl being smaller with seats for about 10,000 less.


    Courtesy The American Cinematographer, April 1923, p. 9.
  15. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    The Stage

    A stage 200 feet square and suggestive of an ancient Aztec temple has been designed especially for the exposition and will be built in the center of the coliseum. This stage has three graduated levels–the top for bands and orchestras; the next level for spectacles and ballets; and the main stage for the floats and pageants. These pageants and spectacles will be limited to evening performances, while concerts will take place in the afternoons so that attention during the day will not be diverted from the exhibits.”5

    5. The American Cinematographer, Film Exposition Rounding Into Shape; Apex of Cinema Achievement To Be Reflected In Monroe Doctrine Centennial; International Interest Aroused By Motion Picture Industry’s Huge Undertaking, April, 1923, p. 9, 10 & 22.

    Southern_Pacific_Bulletin May 1923  p 19  C.png

    Miss Ruth Roland, motion picture star, and F. S. McGinnis, general passenger agent of the Southern Pacific are shown above as the Momus Special was about to leave Los Angeles on April 8. Courtesy Southern Pacific (Railroad) Bulletin, May 1923, p. 19.

    “A party of 100 passengers, including representatives of the American Historical Revue and Motion Picture Exposition, to be held in Los Angeles during July, made the trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans on the ‘Momus Special’ excursion of the Southern Pacific Company.

    The excursionists left Los Angeles April 8 on a special train operated as the second section of the Sunset Limited and arrived in New Orleans on April 10. After some time spent in sightseeing, the steamer Momus was boarded the following morning for the delightful sea voyage to New York.

    Miss Ruth Roland, heroine of many film serials, and Garrett Graham represented the Revue and Exposition on the trip and at each stop between Los Angeles and New Orleans Miss Roland held an informal reception on the observation platform, delivering invitations to public officials to attend the opening of the exposition on the night of July 2.

    The train was also equipped with a radio broadcasting and receiving set which was operated by L. C. McIntosh of the Telegraph Department of the Southern Pacific and Major Frank Creswell, Radio Engineer of the Western Research Radio Laboratory.

    A special Southern Pacific radio program was broadcasted from the Los Angeles Examiner station just before the ‘Momus Special’ departed from Los Angeles. The program, which won much commendation, was heard by passengers on the train, as well as by persons ‘listening in’ at thousands of receiving stations in the West.

    The program was arranged by Mr. McIntosh and was participated in by Misses Laureta Brown, Eva Ballard, Fern Cole and Beulah Lilly, Mrs. E. Carey, C. C. Eby, Herbert Lilly and Josiah Lyons.

    All are employees of the southern Pacific’s Telegraph Department at Los Angeles, with the exception of Mr. Lilly and his sister. Mr. Lilly is file clerk in the office of T. H. Williams, Assistant General Manager.

    Representatives of both the Passenger and the Operating departments between Los Angeles and New Orleans did much to assure the success of the special excursion.

    On the train special menus of delicious southern dishes were prepared by the Commissary Department. During the steamer trip from New Orleans to New York Captain C. P. Maxson arranged special entertainment, including a costume party and ball”6

    6. The Southern Pacific Bulletin, ‘Momus Special’ Carries Boosters, San Francisco, May 23, 1923, p. 19.
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  16. leeg

    leeg I Enjoy Toned Coins

    I feel folks get the gist of my chapter.

    I'll end it here.

    Hope all enjoyed it.
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  17. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Fantastic read, leeg. As always, I enjoy your thoroughly researched stories about these coins.
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  18. RonSanderson

    RonSanderson Supporter! Supporter

    50c 1923-S Monroe #01 full 01.gif
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  19. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    These are two that I recently bought on eBay. They have been graded by myself as "Good Enough". lol

    This first one is in the mail

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  20. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    This one I've already received. Another one that's "Good Enough".


    leeg likes this.
  21. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    Great write up.Excellent attention to detail. American History is one of my favorite subjects, both now and back in the day in school.
    leeg likes this.
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