MacNeil Month — February 2017By
February 29th marks the 157th Anniversary of Tom Henry McNeil (Thomas H. McNeil). Because he was born on Leap Day his birthday came only once every four years (Leap Year).
So we remember the McNeil/MacNeil cousins Tom Henry and Hermon. And we celebrate each February as “MacNeil Month” here at HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) and Thomas Henry McNeil (1860-1932) were cousins. They shared a common grandfather, Peter McNeil (1786-1847).
Hermon is the sculptor celebrated on this website.Thomas (Tom Henry) was my grandfather. My mother, Ollie Francis McNeil, always referred to Hermon as “Uncle Hermon”. Their parents wanted her (and her sisters and brother) to do that out of respect.
Tom Henry was born near Burdette, Missouri, in Bates County. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1884 (Literature) and 1885 (Law).
He played football there as the first starting quarterback in consecutive seasons of 84 and 85. He practiced as a lawyer for Kansas City Railways Company, and in later years, he was responsible for making accident reports to the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Public Service Commission of Missouri. He died in 1932.
Hermon was born in Everett (Chelsea, Malden) Mass. In 1886 he graduated from Normal Art School in Boston (now Mass Art). He moved to Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. As Instructor
until 1889, leaving to study in Paris as a pupil of Henri M. Chapu and Alexandre Falguière. He sculpted in Chicago from 1891-1895, at the Columbian World Exposition (1893 Chicago World’s Fair) meeting Carol Brooks (also a sculptor). They married on Christmas Day 1895 and sailed days later for Rome (1895-99). Following another year in Paris (1899-1900), they settled in New York City building a home and studio in College Point, Long Island. He worked and lived there until his death in 1947.