In addition to being a prolific sculptor Joe created many medals during his career. Throughout this site you’ll find images of medals from local collections as well as a few we discovered on the world wide web. According to Wikipedia Joe received the J. Sanford Saltus Medal in 1970 for excellence in the art of medallic sculpture. He also designed various medals for the US Air Force and the US Army, including those for good conduct. Additionally he designed the American Defense Service Medal.
Although we have also included the medallions in their respective decade pages when their date was known, we felt that the work deserved it's own dedicated page as well. You will find his complete known medallion work below.
The earliest dated medallion, completed while Joe was at the American Academy in Rome sometime between 1926-29.
This medal by Joe, titled World Peace, was created in 1946 and is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. They describe it as follows.
“Research has not revealed the purpose of Joseph Kiselewski’s medal or the source of the commission. The obverse side shows a figure of peace, arms extended across the world. On the reverse, a dove holds an olive branh and rests upon a book, suggesting that the way to peace is through education. Kiselewski designed his medal in 1946, immediately after World War II, and it may be linked to the efforts of the United Nations, whose charter is to preserve world peace.”
However, the Smithsonian got it wrong. World Peace was commissioned by the now defunct Society of Medalists. It was the thirty-third of the Society’s 129 mostly bronze medals issued from 1930 to 1995. The Society commissioned many well known sculptors throughout the years including Lee Lawrie, Joe’s long time friend, mentor, and employer.
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award medal. Since 1958, this award has been given annually to outstanding American citizens, such as astronaut Neil Armstrong and President Dwight Eisenhower. The medal was featured in the Fall 1966 Sculpture Review magazine. Sylvanus Thayer was Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy from 1817 to 1833 and is known as “The Father of West Point”. He was especially interested in engineering education. On the reverse it says, Sylvanus Thayer, 1785 - 1872, The Hall of Fame for Great Americans at New York University, 1966, Movement of curved lines, Movement of Curved Projectiles, Quadrature of Curves
We don't currently know who Charles G. Proffitt was. Presumably, he was an architect.
Joseph Veach Noble
Joseph Veach Noble was trained as a cinematographer but became a museum administrator. He had a long career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He trained himself in antiquities and archaeology and he was instrumental in identifying three Etruscan terra-cotta warriors in the museum’s collection as fakes. Joe created this medallion in 1970 and it can be found in the American Heritage Bank in Browerville.
This 76.2 mm in diameter bronze medal was created by Joe and struck by The Medallic Art Company to mark the 20th anniversary of MD magazine’s publication. The magazine’s founder, Dr. Marti Ibañez, was a psychiatrist who wanted to create a publication that melded the three facets of a physicians life — the professional, the human being, and the member of society.
This brass medallion was created in 1968 by Ms. Terry Iles, a student of Joe’s at the National Academy of Design. It’s called Perseverance and Dedication. The scientist is said to represent the never-ending quest of research. The spider represents the patience and perseverance needed to achieve results. Joe was proud of his students work and kept this among his belongings when he retired to Browerville in the 1980s. This medal was chosen as the 78th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1968.
David W. Peck
This bronze plaque of Presiding Justice of New York State’s Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, First Department, David W. Peck, was created by Joe in 1977, a few years before he returned to Browerville. It was rescued from the floor of a New York antique dealer by antique dealers Stewart Lewis and Christopher Poppe in 2020. It appears to have been presented to Peck’s first wife Elizabeth. She died in 1980 and he died in 1990.
Elizabeth’s friends from Wabash College presented the likeness of her husband to her. David Peck, who was a trustee at Wabash College, enrolled in the College at the age of sixteen, graduated from there at nineteen, and completed Harvard Law School in 1922. Wabash College presents a David W. Peck award to a prominent lawyer and promising student every year.
Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and famed human rights lawyer, received the annual David W. Peck award from Wabash College in 2009.
One of the fascinating aspects of Peck’s career is that in Germany, in the early 1950s, he led the Advisory Board on Clemency on recommendations for the pardon of convicted war and Nazi criminals. The panel was referred to as the Peck Panel.
Peck was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals by his fellow Republican and presidential candidate Governor Thomas Dewey.
Christopher Poppe of Greenlawn, NY wrote to us on November 21st, 2020 and sent these photos he took. Prior to Christppher writing to us, we were unaware of the existence of this piece.
Christopher tells us, “I purchased this plaque along with a friend and business partner, Stewart Lewis. We are collectors and resellers. Stewart has been an avid collector of bronzes over the years.
Stewart and I were browsing at a local Antiques Mall when we came upon the plaque. It was sitting, unceremoniously, on the floor of one dealer's booth. It piqued our interest. At the time, neither one of us were aware of the scope and importance of Joseph Kiselewski's work. After leaving the Mall we did our research on Joseph.Kiselewski and David Warner Peck. Shortly afterwards we returned to the Mall and purchased it.
The medallion is 12 1/4" in diameter and mounted on a 15" X 15" plaque.”
American Defense Service Medal
Kiselewski designed this medal, which was sculpted by Lee Lawrie, for the U.S. Armed Forces. The medal was used from September 8, 1939, and December 7, 1941.
Henry Ward Beecher
Joe created this bronze medal, manufactured by the Medallic Art Co., depicting Henry Ward Beecher for the Hall of Great Americans at the Bronx Community College in New York City in 1964. The medal was part of a series of ninety-six medals created by forty-two sculptors between 1962 and 1975. Joe also sculpted busts of Sylvanus Thayer and Oliver Wendell Holmes for the Hall. The sculptor John Massey Rhind created the Hall’s of Henry Ward Beecher.
Henry Ward Beecher was a Christian minister, advocate for the abolition of slavery, a supporter of Darwin’s theory on evolution, and an advocate for the right to vote for women. He was the brother of the famous slavery abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.
You can read more about the Great American series of medals for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at this 2004 Medal Collectors of America article here.
This 84 mm bronze medal was designed by Joseph Kiselewski in 1964 and made by the Medallic Art Company. It honors Henry Bacon, renowned architect of the magnificent Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The medal’s full name is “The Henry Bacon Medal for Memorial Architecture”. The medal is quite prestigious as, for example, The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington D.C. was awarded the Henry Bacon Medal for Memorial Architecture.
Although he only lived to the age of fifty-seven Henry Bacon was a very prolific architect designing dozens of public buildings and monuments including the Union Square Savings Bank in Manhattan and the Danforth Memorial Library in Patterson New Jersey.He was also very active as a designer of monuments and settings for public sculpture.
This medal was obtained by the deceased niece of Kiselewski, Delores Johnson, and is now in the possession of Kim Schuh, Dolores’ daughter.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Joe carved a bust of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. for the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at the Bronx Community College in 1970. That same year, at the request of a committee of prominent artists, he was commissioned to create this medal depicting Justice Holmes. It is one of a series of Hall of Fame Americans. Below is Joe’s description of the project:
“My portrait of Justice Holmes is derived from a composite of photographs taken over many years. I wanted to show him as a forceful person, at the prime of his long career. On the reverse, is an allegorical figure with book and quill, symbolizing writing of the law. The Supreme Court where he served for years, is shown in the back ground.; the scales represent justice. The quotation, an idea he strongly advocated . . . “justice and liberty for all mankind.”