From New York Times (Apr 19, 1926)
Nicholas Murray Butler, as Chancellor of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, explained yesterday why the academy chose Cecilia Beaux and Mary Wilkins Freeman for its awards of honor. Friday noon at ceremonies attended by the country's foremost representatives of art, music and literature, Miss Beaux will receive the gold medal of the academy and Mrs. Freeman the Howells medal.
“It was the judgment of the academy that Miss Beaux's work had qualities of distinction, conception and execution of a character that the academy wishes to signalize and reward,” said Mr. Butler. “The gold medal represents the highest award for achievement in the fine arts that can be given in this country. To be given the gold medal signifies distinction and greatness over a long period. Only twice before has it been conferred — in 1915 to Charles W. Eliot for distinction in letters and in 1923 to Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer for her work as critic and historian.
“As to the selection of Mrs. Freeman for the Howells medal, the character of her work, the fidelity of the types she chose for description and the range of her knowledge made her exactly the type that Howells himself would have liked. This medal is awarded once in five years for distinction in fiction.”
The gold medal will be presented to Miss Beaux by Edwin Garland Blashfield and the Howells medal to Mrs. Freeman by Hamlin Garland. The ceremonies will also include the unveiling of a bas-relief of Howells created by the well known woman sculptor, Brenda Putnam.