Thursday, December 9, 2010


We arrived in Gettysburg on November 15 under threatening skies. The weather through the middle of the week was iffy at best but since we were inside it was little more than a nuisance. The biggest issue with the rain and cold was that Wendy, my wife and I, had little chance to get out onto the battlefield. I had even hoped to hook up with a certified battlefield guide named Bill Dowling for a photgraphic tour, but the weather was just to rainy and overcast. Perhaps next year.

The main reason we were in Gettysburg was to attend the Lincoln Forum being held at the Gettysburg Wyndham Hotel located east of the village of Gettsyburg. This year's theme for the Forum was "The Coming of the Civil War: Enter Lincoln, Exit the South". For parts of three days the Forum presented speakers such as Peter Carmichael, Gary Ecelbarger, Harold Holzer, Frank Williams, John Marszalek, Craig Symonds and Mark Neely.

On Thursday afternoon, the weather cleared a bit and we finally had a chance to get out of the hotel for a while and made a short trip to a little crossroads southeast of Gettysburg called Hanover Junction. Hanover Junction is famous for one thing - at this railroad station in rural Pennsylvania President Abraham Lincoln changed trains on his way to Gettysburg on November 18, 1863. The next day Lincoln would give his legendary Gettysburg Address. Hanover Junction was also the site of a minor skirmish involving Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry a few days prior to the battle at Gettsyburg 20 miles west. Stuart's troops burned bridges and other property in the Hanover Junction area but the railroad station in Hanover Junction was not damaged.
A photo exists showing Lincoln's train on the tracks next to the station and some have claimed that President Lincoln is shown in the picture. It is generally thought the man in the picture, resembling Lincoln, is a member of the traveling party.

On February 12, 2009, a bust of Lincoln was dedicated near the now restored railroad station to commemerate Lincoln shart but significant stop at Hanover Junction.
The bust, that sets on a pedestal engraved with Lincoln's signature, was executed by a local sculptor named Joe Kelly. When I saw this new Lincoln bust I thought the bust and the artist's name looked familiar but could not place it. After returning home, itfinally hit me that there is a bust of Lincoln in the old railway station in Gettysburg that is very reminescent of this piece at Hanover Junction.
Just as I suspected, the bust in Gettysburg, at the recently restored train station, is also by Joe Kelly. I have not had time to find Mr. Kelly yet. I know he lives in the Hanover/York/Gettysburg area. I want to learn more about his two Lincoln busts. I am curious about what materials he used for the statues. It is not bronze and it does not seem to be concrete. I suspect that the two works may be constructed of a resin-like material. I'll add to the blog when I am able to run down some of these facts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cleveland Rocks

Three weeks ago my wife Wendy and I set out from the Chicago area towards our ultimate destination of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Every year for the past four years I have taken a week's worth of vacation time and I have attended the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg. The Lincoln Forum is held annually during the three days prior to Gettsyburg Remebrance Day.

On the way, I decided to make a slight detour and to stop in Cleveland to visit the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument right in the middle of downtown Cleveland. I became familiar with the Cleveland monument from reading Donald Charles Durman's 1951 book on Lincoln sculptures, He Belongs to the Ages - The Statues of Abraham Lincoln. This work has been long out of print but is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in learning more about Lincoln statuary. Ocassionally a copy comes up for sale on the Web. I have attempted to visit and photograph the Monument several times but something always came up. I was determined that I would check this one off my list on this trip.
The imposing S&S Monument was opened in 1894 .The column in the center rises 125 feet above Public Square in downtown Cleveland. Atop the stone column is the statue of the Goddess of Freedom. Directly underneath the column, is the memorial or "tablet" room which contains a series a four deep relief bronze sculpture groups designed and executed by the sculptor and architect of the entire project Levi Tucker Scofield. The memorial room also includes bronze busts of Civil War heroes from Cuyahoga County and the walls are covered with 9000 names of county residents that served in the Civil War.

The four relief sculptures are the center piece of the room. Each of the panels measures seven by ten feet and are solid bronze. Two of the four feature Abraham Lincoln. The panel on the north side of the room features President Lincoln lifting high the shackles of slavery and offering the now freed slave a musket. The portrait of Lincoln is joined by the figures of Chase, Sherman, Wade and Giddings.

The second panel on the east side of the room, represents Lincoln meeting with his generals at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. Lincoln is seen with many of his generals incuding Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, Meade and Legett. There is one figuring peering over President Lincoln's left shoulder. This soldier is Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln. Robert Todd was a captain and served on General Grant's staff. As far as I can determine there is only one other group that shows Lincoln together with his eldest son. The work is in Springfield, Illinois near the old state capital building. The artist is Larry Andersen.

The building has now been fully restored and it is glorius. If you are going through Cleveland it would be worth your time to stop and visit the Cleveland Soldier's and Sailors Monument.
More photos of the Cleveland Soldier's and Sailor's Monument can be found on my photography website located at

Monday, September 6, 2010

Galesburg Dedicating New Lincoln Statue

A new statue of President Abraham Lincoln will be unveiled today, Labor Day, at the Galesburg, Illinois Amtrak depot at 225 Seminary Street. The new 2,500 pound granite statue will be dedicated at a ceremony after Galesburg's Labor Day parade.
Modeled after the famous statue of Lincoln by the female sculptor, Vinnie Ream, the larger than life sized image of the 16Th president, will be placed upon a granite pedestal making the entire monument approximately 11 feet tall and the overall weight at 11,000 pounds.

The statue depicts Lincoln with his right hand extended holding the Emancipation Proclamation. He has a cloak draped over his right arm and his left hand holds the other side of cloak, keeping it from dragging on the floor.

Vinnie Ream, the sculptress of the original that stands in the Rotunda of the Capital Building in Washington D.C., was born near Madison, Wisconsin in 1847. He father worked for the U.S. government and moved to the capital city in 1862.
Ream had the opportunity to model her Lincoln from life. It has been reported that she spent 5 months at the White House sculpting a bust of Lincoln, who sat for Ms. Ream many times. After Lincoln's death, she entered a competition for a $10,000 congressional commission to sculpt Lincoln for a memorial to the martyred president. The 18 year old girl, bested 18 other more noted and older sculptors to gain the commission but not without a certain amount of controversy due to the sculptors age and sex.
Her choice for the commission was quite controversial but ultimately her talent prevailed and she started working on the piece in 1867. Ream travelled to Rome where she hand picked the Cararra marble for her statue. She spent nearly two years overseas in Italy, and returned to the U.S. with her finished full length marble of President Lincoln. The unveiling occurred on January 25, 1871. The reactions to her piece were originally positive but some critics attacked her technique and skills.
Other examples of Ream's work are the the statue of Admiral Farragut in Washington's Farragut Square. In the U.S. Capital's Statuary Hall, Ream's statue of Samuel Jordan Kirkwood, the governor and U.S. Senator, represents the state if Iowa. Also in the capital, Ream's statue of Sequoya, the native American credited with inventing the written alphabet for the Cherokee language, represents the state of Oklahoma.
Vinnie Ream Hoxie died in November of 1914 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Her grave is marked by a large monument topped by her sculpture of Sappho, the ancient Greek poetess..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lincoln in Norway

I came across the above photo on eBay not long ago and despite visiting every imaginable Lincoln statue, I could not place this particular work. It looked very familiar but I knew that I had not visited it - yet!
I watched to see if anyone else was bidding on the item. It seemed no one else was interested in the old postcard. My curiosity was really piqued and my mind was clicking through all of the large Lincoln busts I knew of and I still could not come up with the location.
I thought it had to be one of several Lincoln busts I knew but perhaps the monument had been changed in some way and didn't look like this any longer. I concluded that the statue looked like one I had seen in New Milford, CT by Paul Morris. The time period looked about right. The New Milford Lincoln was dedicated in 1912 and the folks in the picture looked from approximately the same era.
The local Historical Society in New Milford told me that the current monument had not changed since 1912. That was a trip down a dead end street.
The owner of the card told me that there were no markings or writing on the card that might indicate where the card came from. Nothing at all. No help from that quarter.
After bending my brain, it suddenly hit me where I had seen the statue before. This bust was identical to two others that I had seen. One is in Geneseo, Illinois and the other is front of the county courthouse in Hillsboro, North Dakota. I have always considered these pieces very fine portraits of Lincoln but they are virtually unknown.

Where was this one?
Suddenly it came to me!

It was almost certainly the original bust of President Lincoln sculpted by the noted North Dakota sculptor Paul Fjelde. Fjelde had been recommended for this commission by sculptor and art historian Lorado Taft.
The bust that had been given to the City of Oslo by the Norwegian-Americans of North Dakota and Minnesota in 1914 to honor the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Norwegian constitution which had been modeled after the U.S. Constitution.

On July 4, 1914 a committee from the United States had travelled to Norway and presented the people of Norway with this bust of Abraham Lincoln. The postcard that I purchased shows some of the dignitaries and others that attended that 1914 dedication ceremony.

I consulted with North Dakota's liaison to the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and sent him a copy of the picture after it came in the mail. He had never seen this image but the state of North Dakota, in its archives, has images from the 1914 ceremony that show the same basic scene .

There is one very interesting aspect to the story that I should mention. It was reported that during the days of the Nazi occupation of Norway, crowds of fearless Norwegians would gather at the Lincoln bust in Oslo's Forgner Park on July 4th in silent protest.

Mystery solved and I didn't even need the History Detectives.

Additional photos of the Lincoln busts by Paul Fjelde in the United States can be found at my photo web site. The Link to the website is at the top of the page on the right.

Monday, August 2, 2010

First Posting

This is the inaugural post of my Lincoln statue, monument and memorial blog.

The title of the blog comes from a word that I have been using when someone asks what we have been up to lately. "We have been out "Lincolning", I will tell them.

For the past 6 years my wife and I have travelled across the United States "Lincolning". We have visited, photographed and documented Lincoln sculptures and memorials in 35 states including Hawaii.

Most recently we took a short, quick trip right after the 4th. of July and ventured out across Illinois to visit a new statue in Marshall,Illinois by an Indiana sculptor named Bill Wolfe and to revisit a piece in Jacksonville, IL. on the campus of Illinois College by sculptors Peter Maxon and Doris parks.

In Quincy, IL, we stopped to see the recently updated site of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate in Washington Park in downtown Quincy. A large bas relief monument by the noted sculptor Lorado Taft was erected in 1936 at the site of the debate.

There are now statues or significant monuments erected at all 7 sites of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The last statue group was erected in Jonesboro, in far southern Illinois, in 2008.

Our Missouri leg took us to Moberly to find an obscure marble Lincoln in a local cemetery and to document a work featuring Lincoln and his favorite son Tad, in front of Kansas City's 1937 art deco inspired City Hall.

In Kansas City, Missouri, in front of the neo-classic City Hall building, stands a statue of Lincoln with favorite son Tad by sculptor Lorenzo Ghiglieri.

Last February, a statue commemorating Abraham Lincoln's little noted week long trip to Kansas, was unveiled in Leavenworth, Kansas. Up the road from Leavenworth and across the river from St. Joseph, Missouri, in the little town of Troy, Kansas, there is a bust of Lincoln across from the county courthouse. On his trip to Kansas, Lincoln made numerous speeches and one of these speeches was given in Troy. It is claimed that Lincoln used this time in Kansas to try out and work on ideas that he would eventually use in his Cooper Union Speech in New York City in February of 1860. It is said that the Cooper Union speech helped make Lincoln president.

Another day, found us in Lincoln, Nebraska. At the west entrance to the capital building, a wonderful statue called Lincoln of Gettysburg by Lincoln Memorial sculptor, Daniel Chester French can be seen. Lincoln is in a thoughtful pose and stands in front of a huge granite monolith on which the words of the Gettysburg address are carved. The photo at the top of this post is a close-up of French's "original" Lincoln statue.

At the other end of a 6 block long boulevard, in front of the Justice and Law Enforcement Building stands a copy of a very controversial Lincoln work by the artist Louis Slobodkin. The original is in Washington DC in a private courtyard of the Department of the Interior Building. The work is called Lincoln the Rail Joiner or Lincoln the Rail Fence Builder.

The state capital building itself features two Lincoln images by noted architectural sculptor and designer Lee Lawrie. Lawrie is perhaps best known for his work in New York City and especially for the statue of 'Atlas' in front of Rockefeller Center.

Lawrie's Lincoln pieces on the Nebraska Capital Building are a large bas relief of the Emacipation and a sculpture of a young Lincoln.

The last state on our trip was Iowa. Iowa contains a large number of Lincoln works. On this ramble through Iowa, Wendy and I found an unusual pair of Lincoln monuments topped with busts of Lincoln that mark a 90 degree turn on the route of the original Lincoln Highway. The two markers are located just north of Scranton in west central Iowa. The markers are known as the Moss Markers after the local farmer that erected them.

Scranton is not far from Jefferson, Iowa where a large full sized statue of Lincoln is located in front of the courthouse. This work, by Granville Hasting, is but one of three copies of this statue. Other copies of this Lincoln work can be found in Cincinnatti, Ohio and in Bunker Hill, Illinois, near Alton, IL. The Jefferson copy is the only one of the three to feature only Lincoln. The Ohio and Illinois pieces are made up of two figures. One being Lincoln and the other a woman, half kneeling, and inscribing upon the pedestal the words, "With Malice Towards None,"

The final statue we visited on our quick Lincolning trip was found in a very small, quaint but out-of-the-way town in northeast Iowa. Clermont, Iowa, is approximately 25 miles west of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on the Turkey river. The Clermont Lincoln is located in a small park on the north end of the city. This work is a copy of a much more elaborate statue by George Bissell located in Edinburgh, Scotland. The piece in Scotland is made up of two figures. One is the same Lincoln that is seen in Clermont. The second bronze figure is a crouching, freed slave reaching one of his arms up to the Lincoln figure standing above him.

The statue in Clermont does not include the slave figure from the Edinburgh original. Instead, Bissell added four highly detailed bronze relief panels honoring the memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Civil War. It is my guess that the bronze panels were added instead of the slave figure for both economic reasons (a second bronze figure would be quite expensive) and because the donors were most interested in honoring the men who fought in the Civil War and not to commemerate the Emancipation of the slaves.

Bissell's bust of Lincoln from this statue is quite popular and oft times can be found for sale on the Internet.

Next blog post - Lincoln goes to Norway!