Archive for February, 2014
Today, February 27, 2014 marks the 148th anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil, born this very day in 1866. So each February, we celebrate “MacNeil Month” in his honor.
In 2010, I formally began searching for “Uncle Hermon” in several ways. First, I built this “digital gallery” of his life and work as a sculptor. HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com is a website dedicated to making his sculpture and career available to the world.
In this virtual gallery you will find over 600 photos and 130 stories of Hermon MacNeil’s life and work. His statues of George Washington from Washington Arch, NYC; Ezra Cornell at Cornell University, William McKinley at Columbus, Ohio; Abraham Lincoln at Champaign, Illinois; Pony Express at St. Joseph, Missouri; Pere Marquette in Chicago; and monuments in Philadelphia, Charleston, Albany, and Flushing, and dozens of other cities can be studied here.
These sculptures, statues, monuments are scattered from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon, and from New York City to Gallup, New Mexico. A web search of the name “Hermon MacNeil” can bring you here.
HOW DID YOU FIND the Hermon MacNeil website?
Please add comment below. Tell us what brings you here.
Secondly, this year I joined the Clan MacNeil Association of America. I did not know its existence until I saw the 1928 news story of the MacNeil plaque dedication in Red Springs. I have shared MacNeil stories at the annual family reunion of my siblings and our children and grand children. In August 2013 I attended the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Fest in Estes Park. What a great celebration of Celtic pride.
Keep watching as I continue the search and research on Hermon Atkins MacNeil.
We celebrate “MacNeil Month” each February. This February 27, 2014 marks the 148th anniversary of the birth of our patron sculptor, Hermon Atkins MacNeil. During MacNeil Month 2014 here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com , we will share some biography of Hermon A. MacNeil gleaned from my “search for ‘Uncle Hermon’.”
Hermon Atkins MacNeil ~American Sculptor
MacNeil Clan history, like all family history, is filled with people we have never met. One MacNeil who has always fascinated me is Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Researching “Uncle” Hermon has also led me to another amazing man, Robert Lister MacNeil. Both men were present when the Clan MacNeil Association of America was formed ninety-three years ago.
On May 26, 1921, the Clan MacNeil Association of America was organized in New York City. Central to that moment were Robert Lister MacNeil, (The MacNeil of Barra – 45th Chief of the Clan), and Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor, who served as the clan’s first president. At that time, Robert Lister was 32 years of age, a practicing architect in New York City, and a veteran of the First World War. He had succeeded to the chiefship of the Clan MacNeil just six years earlier. His dreams of the Isle of Barra and restoring Kisimul Castle (as told in his book The Castle in the Sea) were but faint hopes that would await decades and the efforts of many MacNeils for their accomplishment.
His other kinsman was Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Hermon was the older of the two, an accomplished sculptor, also practicing in New York City, he had already created a myriad of statues, sculptures, monuments, as well as, the U.S. Standing Liberty Quarter first minted in 1916. Although these two MacNeils were 23 years apart in age, they were both trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, a school for architects and sculptors in the Classic Greco-Roman styles. A lasting bond between them formed through their shared artistic talents, professional skills, and years of Clan MacNeil activity.
Hermon MacNeil designed a bronze plaque that was unveiled and dedicated on May 28, 1928 on the campus of Flora MacDonald College in Red Springs, NC. The plaque commemorated the 1735 landing of Neil MacNeil of Jura, Scotland with 350 followers. This group made up mostly of clan members landed at the Cape Fear Settlement in North Carolina. The plaque was placed on a red granite stone and marked another clan project shared by these two men.
In his later years, Robert Lister stated: “Hermon was an outstanding sculptor and one of my dearest friends all the rest of his life.” In 1970, six years after publishing those words, Robert Lister MacNeil died at the age of 81. Twenty-three years earlier (in 1947), Hermon Atkins MacNeil had died, also at the same age of 81. All of the above was discovered as I “searched for Uncle Hermon.” I never met either of these two MacNeil men. The more I learn of them both, the more striking I find the parallels in their lives.
Upcoming: MacNeil Roots and Pursuits