WASHINGTON — During a recent appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen faced an awkward question: After nearly two years in the job, why was the signature of her predecessor, Steven T. Mnuchin, still scrawled across the nation’s currency?
The answer, she explained, was a quirk of currency design that required a new treasurer of the United States to be in place before the money could be remade with both of their signatures.
That finally happened on Thursday when the first bank notes bearing the name of America’s first female Treasury secretary were unveiled. The occasion was another crack in the glass ceiling for Ms. Yellen and the notoriously male-dominated field of economics.
The bills will also bear the name of Marilynn Malerba, the first Native American to hold the role of treasurer. The first $1 and $5 notes with their signatures will enter…