Archive for June, 2013
In 1931, exactly 100 years after James Monroe‘s death (b. April 28, 1758 – d.July 4, 1831), Hermon MacNeil completed a bronze bust of this U.S. President. It was MacNeil’s fourth statue of a US President.
This bronze bust by Hermon MacNeil resides in the Hall of Fame of Great Americans on the campus of Bronx Community College (formerly NYU). The aging memorial of over 100 busts was designed by Stanford White, famous “Beaux Arts” architect of New York City.
MacNeil’s previous sculptures of U.S. Presidents include George Washington (NYC – Washington Arch ~ also designed by Stanford White), Abraham Lincoln (University of Illinois, Urbana, in $60 million restoration of Lincoln Hall), and William McKinley (Monument placed on the Ohio State Capitol grounds, Columbus, in 1906).
FOURTH OF JULY? Monroe was the third President to die on the 4th of July. Ironically, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (the second and third Presidents) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. Reportedly Adam’s last words were “only Jefferson remains… .” In truth, Adams was wrong. He did not know that Jefferson had died at Montecello earlier that same day. John Adams was the last surviving signer of the Declaration, by just a matter of hours. Five years later at the age of 73, James Monroe (the fifth President) died on the Fourth of July, as well. His death was 55 years after the signing of the Declaration.
Monroe was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825). He was the last president from the group known as the Founding Fathers. Monroe was also the last President from the Virginia dynasty. In 1936 MacNeil would sculpt one other Virginian from the Revolutionary era — “George Rogers Clark” (National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana site of the Clark’s Revolutionary victory at Fort Sackville).
Three other MacNeil busts are at the Hall of Fame:
- Roger Williams; Francis Parkman; Rufus Choate
- James Monroe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Monroe
- Hall of Fame for Great Americans; 2183 University Avenue; New York, NY 10453; (718) 289-5910; cuny.edu
The Hall of Fame of Great Americans – Series of Medals (3″ and 1 3/4″ format) were cast from 1962-1975. This occurred after Hermon MacNeil’s death in 1947. The James Monroe medal pictured below was based on MacNeil’s portrait bust. The medal was sculpted by C. Paul Jennewein, a sculptor who worked with Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (a prolific sculptor and a student of MacNeil) who build Brookgreen Gardens into the world’s largest outdoor sculpture park.[mappress mapid=”46″]
Hermon MacNeil’s 1939 work for the prominent Yale Family of Salisbury, New York, commemorates 10 generations of their ancestry. The monument in the Salisbury Rural Cemetery (Click here) contains nine gilded reliefs of various occupations of the ancestors. A Bronze bas relief contains two circular portraits of William T. Yale, and son, Milton H. Yale. I have yet to see and photograph these works directly but have discovered them at the Salisbury Cemetery History link above, and the Smithsonian Institute Collections Search Center (an excellent catalog of art, sculpture, and photos from all over the United States).
Smithsonian Institute describes it as follows:
Nine rectangular, gilded reliefs are installed along three sides of a rectangular base. In each relief a male figure represents one of the various professions of the Yale family members. The professions, such as settler, surveyor, farmer, soldier, inventor, postmaster, and merchant, are inscribed at the base of each relief. The fourth side of the base has an inscription plaque containing two circular relief portraits, one of William T. Yale and one of Milton H. Yale [ Source: SI-CSC -bottom of page ]
Lisa Slaski has summarized the following information at her website: For more history on each Yale ancestor click on the link below:
[ This monument was dedicated by William T. Yale on 20 May 1939 to ten generations of the Yale family who made their way in this country. The monument is made of granite stone with nine small gold plated bas-reliefs figures sculpted by Herman A. MacNeil of College Point, L.I.
The five figures on the front of the monument are clearly visible from the road with two additional figures on each of the narrow sides. The reliefs represent the various professions of different members of the Yale family with each figure holding a tool or other symbol of that profession. The figures are, from left to right, the: Settler, Surveyor, Revolutionary Soldier, Farmer, Inventor, Developer, Postmaster, Merchant, and Executive.
Under the reliefs on the front of the monument is the following inscription:
Landed at Boston from Wales
Settled in New Haven Colony, 1638
Came to Salisbury about 1810, whence
The inscription on this plaque reads as follows:
|“The western part of this cemetery was given to the association by Milton H. Yale in 1907. The Yale Memorial Trust Fund, given in 1922 by his son William T. Yale, and other cemetery benefactors, is an endowment for the cemetery’s perpetual care.”|
On the sides of the monument, under the figures, are the words “Courage” and “Wisdom” and the names and dates of William’s 9 ancestors, himself and Fred S. Yale of Flushing, L. I.:
|Capt. Thomas Yale||1647-1736|
|Divan B. Yale||1772-1849|
|Truman L. Yale||1815-1888|
|Milton H. Yale||1845-1920|
|William T. Yale||1875-1943|
|Fred S. Yale||1881-1971|
A little-known fact was discovered by a friend of this website. Hermon Atkins MacNeil served as the 1st president of the Clan MacNeil Association of America.
Jim Haas, author and College point researcher, sent a 1928 article from the Brooklyn Daily Star documenting the story. [ Brooklyn Daily Star ~ Tuesday Evening ~ May 22, 1928, Page 16, Column 1. (Image below Courtesy of Jim Haas.)]
The “MacNeil” Clans in America are a journey in history. The MacNeil Clan’s began arriving in the America before Revolutionary times.
Neil MacNeil first landed in Cape Fear River settlement in 1735. He brought 350 followers with him leaving their home land on the island of Barra in the Hebides. Most were clan members. Several more shiploads of Scots were to follow under Neil MacNeil’s leadership.
Check this Link to “Clan MacNeil” website and a list of over 100 ‘septs’ (variations or of the name “MacNeil” within the clan).
The news article (inserted at right) tells of a 1928 unveiling and dedication of a bronze plaque designed by MacNeil and placed on the campus of Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, NC. In 1958 that college merged with St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC to become St. Andrews Collalso toldege and in 2010 the name was changed to St. Andrews University.
Flora MacDonald Academy (a K-12 private preparatory school) remains in Red Springs. Presumably, the MacNeil Memorial plaque placed on a granite boulder remains there on that campus and garden. CLICK HERE for a history of both schools.
A visit in May 2012 to Laurinburg found St. Andrews University on a beautiful 800 acre barrier free campus. (Photos coming in later posting) Appropriately, this area is in “Scotland” County. The Scottish Heritage Center resides in it’s own building on campus. Passed the center a massive sculpture of “The Scot” greets visitors. Clearly, the area marks the territory of a proud people. Clan MacNeil Association of America claims a proud history both in Scotland and the Americas.
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Clan MacNeil Association of America