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!


  1. Congratulations on your new blog!

    I became interested in Lincoln two or three years ago after reading David Herbert Donald's biography. That sent me on a search for all things Lincoln.

    I look forward to following your blog and to seeing the book of photography you're publishing on him.


  2. Dave,

    I'm pleased to discover your new blog. Just wanted to let you know that I've posted a brief blurb on my blog encouraging people to look your way. Hope this is a great success!