Selma Hortense Burke

Life Dates

Burke was born in North Carolina. She came to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel University College of Medicine) before moving to New York in the mid-1920s. Her commission of a relief bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 became the model for his likeness that appears on the United States dime. Her work is in the collections of the James A. Michener Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others collections. Burke moved to nearby Bucks County in 1949, and she maintained a lifelong connection to Philadelphia.

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