WELCOME to the “Hermon A. MacNeil” — Virtual Gallery & Museum !

~ This Gallery celebrates my great Uncle, Hermon Atkins MacNeil an American classic sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.  He sculpted Native images and American history:  ~ World’s Fairs, statues, monuments, coins, and more…  ~ Over 300 stories (25 per page) in 10 pages. (Click on Next Page >> at bottom).  View thousands of photos from this virtual MacNeil Gallery.  It stretches from New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~ Hot-links ( lower right) lead to works by Hermon Atkins MacNeil.  ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!  ~ CHECK OUT my Uncle Hermon’s works here!

Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster

DO YOU walk by MacNeil Statues and NOT KNOW IT ???

Search Results for "pony express"

The “Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri  was dedicated in 1940.

Hermon MacNeil turned 74 that February 27th. He posed for newspaper photos sitting on the statue base.

The statue appears to be un-mounted on its massive pedestal base. 

  • Was this photo taken at the foundry before shipping? 
  • Or maybe at St. Joe before being erected on the pedestal base? 
  • WE don’t know!
  • BUT the sculptor seems proud and relaxed aside his historic tribute! 

The authentic saddle & mail bags were consistent with Dr. S. M. Strong’s  replicas which were Hermon patterns.  And of course , “Poncho Villa”, the Doctor’s rescued rodeo mustang. after.

Twenty years later (1960), was the Centennial of the first Pony Express ride.  That year the  US Post Office issued a Commemorative 4 Cent stamp, as pictured below:    

  • Because the PONY EXPRESS became an established ICON and growing legend. 
  • St. Jo, MO took the iconic “horse and rider” as a SYMBOL for the city itself. 
  • They have continued that identity to the present day, though 164 years have passed. 

RIDE ON, O’ symbol of American history.  Your sculptor has brought you to life at your starting gate of iconic legend. 

FOR MORE:  Go to STJOMO.com

 

Related posts:

  1. Pony Express Rides Again! (26.1) In the heart of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri the “Pony…
  2. Pony Express Hood Ornament (19) On a rainy day recently I visited MacNeil’s Pony Express…
  3. Attention to Detail ~ “The Pony Express” ~ by H. A. MacNeil (17.9) On first viewing, the sculptures of Hermon MacNeil express amazing…

 

Related Images:

Comments (0)

2024

By William Henry Jackson – SOURCE: https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4051p.tr000013/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10111804

ThePony Express ran for only 18 months, but has become an

“AMERICAN ICON.”

 

Hermon MacNeil’s “Pony Express”

is ALSO  an ICON

marking Saint Joseph, Missouri, as “Station One.”

on the 1900 mile route of 190 Stations

stretching to Sacramento, California.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<=<= <= AAA World

<=<=travel  magazine.

This summer features a Missouri State Travel Ad with Hermon’s Statue of “Pancho Villa” the outlaw Dakota Mustang of Bill Cody’s Wild West Rodeo! 

AND LAMBERT’s  (home of  ‘Throwed Rolls’) in Branson, Missouri a special place to eat

… and catch ‘throwed’ Rolls (click here)

MORE Pony Express NEXT TIME …

PLUS + PREVIOUS Pony Express BELOW ⇓

Hermon MacNeil’s “Pony Express” or “Pancho Villa” Rides Again!

m

Attention to Detail ~ “The Pony Express” ~ by H. A. MacNeil

Related posts:

  1. Pony Express Rides Again! (26.1) In the heart of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri the “Pony…
  2. Pony Express Hood Ornament (19) On a rainy day recently I visited MacNeil’s Pony Express…
  3. Attention to Detail ~ “The Pony Express” ~ by H. A. MacNeil (17.9) On first viewing, the sculptures of Hermon MacNeil express amazing…

Related Images:

“The Pony Express” heads West into the setting sun. MacNeil loved to study the site and setting for his works so he could place them into their unique Horizon as this dramatic shot highlights.

On first viewing, the sculptures of Hermon MacNeil express amazing beauty and gracefulness.  A second and third viewing reveals MacNeil’s careful inclusion of unique details connected to the subjects, objects and historical periods that he sought to portray in bronze and stone.

In sculpting a befitting monument to the “Pony Express” in 1940, Hermon MacNeil showed his abiding attention to detail.  Studying this “last” public monument reveals a series of actions he completed in preparing and perfecting his final product:

  • He found a suitable “stallion” as his model.
    • The charger he found was a rescued “wild mustang” from the plains of the North Dakota (Teddy Roosevelt country).  The steed was used as a rodeo “bucking bronco” and named after the Mexican outlaw, Poncho Villa.
    • Hermon referred to the animal as “glorious horse flesh”. This was the musculature that he immortalized in bronze. For the last 80 years  it’s been heading West out of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri, just a few blocks from the Pony Express Station of the 1860’s.
    • The back story of “Poncho Villa” this outlaw mustang from North Dakota by way Madison Square Gardens is a prime example
  • He became friends with a physician nicknamed the “cowboy doctor”.
    • The man was Dr. S. Meredith Strong of Flushing, NY, a neighboring community to College Point where MacNeil lived and had his studio.
    • Dr. Strong was devoted to the preservation of “wild mustangs” from the prairies.
    • Strong was president of the American Rough Riders, “an organization devoted to the preservation of the horse, and especially the native wild pony.”
  • MacNeil studied the history of the Pony Express.
    • He did this by visiting St. Joseph, Missouri where the Pony Express Museum is located and by evaluating the site designated for the monument.
    • He also had Dr. Strong’s interest, knowledge and fervor to instruct him.

Theatrically, MacNeil had his own fascination fueled by attending the “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show” at the Chicago Worlds Fair (Columbian Exposition).  Buffalo Bill Cody included a re-enactment of a Pony Express ride as a regular dramatization during his shows.  He himself claimed to be a rider, though some dispute that assertion.  

  • The photos below show the actual clay model taken from his studio after his death in 1947.  The broken forelegs and head show the wire structure that the clay was modeled on.
  • I took these photos in the archives of the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, IN. MacNeil built a wire frame on which he constructed his clay model of the horse.
  • Swope Art Museum has remnants of H. A. MacNeil’s small clay models of larger statues salvaged from his studio and storage after his death.
  • Wire frames were a standard practice for constructing clay statue figures of larger proportions. 
  • FOR EXAMPLE: His Manuelito Statue in Gallup, NM was made in 1895 of cement over a wire frame.  It has been restored. 
  • NOTE: I have yet to visit Gallup and see the restored Manuelito statue.

MacNeil was a natural talent as an artist.  His training helped him perfect those innate skills.  By their nature sculptors must be talented artists.  Those skills start early in life.  They include

  • a visual attention to detail. 
  • Visual imaging and proportions.
  • an ability to capture and reproduce the essence of a object and form. 

From there the  process becomes quite meticulous. Phases involved can be described as including:

Model of a Pony Express saddle similar to Dr. Strong’s collection and what MacNeil depicted on his Monument. (Compare actual photo of MacNeil’s work below:)

  • detailed observation;
  • research;
  • historical accuracy;
  • design and balance;
  • construction;
  • inclusion of details and symbols.

The Long Island Star heralded “Poncho Villa”,  his rescuer, Dr. Strong, and Hermon MacNeil’s mastery of sculptural detail in the following narration:

“Watch Out. Pard!     Dr. Strong acquired Poncho from the rodeo after it broke up in New York, just as he did his last “pet.”  The outlaw put six men in the hospital before the physician was able to gain its confidence after months of patient work.  But even today the pony is a one-man animal.  He is a gentle as a lamb when the doctor is around, but let a stranger come near – if you don’t care what happens to the stranger! 

            Fittingly enough for a horse that modeled for the Pony Express statue, Poncho has red, white and blue markings.  The gun, holster, spurs, belt and other accessories sculptured in the replica are all relics which Dr. Strong brought from New Mexico.”   (From the Long Island Star, Tuesday November 19, 1940)

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr. Strong’s authentic Pony Express gear from the 1930’s.

Related posts:

Related Images:

Last Saturday while traveling home to South Dakota, I made an unscheduled stop at Reed Chevrolet in St. Joe, MO.   As I took the exit ramp off I-29 at Frederick Ave., the red light on my Chevy Silverado dash told me that the alternator was failing. 

I was planning to stop at Hazel’s Coffee to get some of our favorite beans to bring home, but I drove a block farther into Reed Chevrolet for emergency repairs.

While waiting for repairs, I met Lou Schreck, sales team member there. He gave me  test drive in a new 2017 Red Silverado. 

We drove downtown as Lou gave me his sales low down on Chevy’s 2017 Silverado line. I drove the very red 2017 that felt like a tall limo. 

Lou Schrenk and “Poncho Villa”, Hermon MacNeil’s model for “THE PONY EXPRESS”

I gave Lou a history of the PONY EXPRESS statue in downtown St. Joe, Missouri and took his picture as MacNeil’s bronze mustang soared above.

Webmaster Dan in St. Joe again for the Ump-teenth time

I enjoyed meeting this friendly Chevy man and exploring the Silverado and St Joe again.  Lou got a snapshot of me also with our Pony Express friends.

For more Pony Express stories that I told to Lou, click on this link:

More PONY EXPRESS

The Reed repair shop got me back on the road to home

(I should have got a pic of the truck too. I swiped this from their website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Images:

Comments (0)

Following-up the previous post of April 23, 2013, I offer this fascinating link to a great lecture on the colorful legend of the Pony ExpressAuthor Christopher Corbett  [ CLICK HERE ] spoke about his bookOrphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony ExpressHis 54 minute YouTube video shares humorous stories of Buffalo Bill, Pony Express, and research findings.   The presentation includes questions from the audience, as well.  

The Pony Express at St Joseph, Missouri.  Dan Leininger, webmaster, has visited it many times as a small boy. Now it is part of his ongoing  research on Hermon MacNeil.

The Pony Express at St Joseph, Missouri. Dan Leininger, webmaster, has visited it many times as a small boy. Now it is part of his ongoing research on Hermon MacNeil.

Hermon MacNeil’s last sculpture was the Pony Express Rider erected in 1940 in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  A skit of the Pony Express was a feature of every show given by Buffalo Bill Cody.  We can thank Buffalo Bill for infecting American History with the Pony Express legend.  He even infected world history with images of the Pony Express.   Hermon MacNeil became captivated by the images of the Native American Indians (Black Pipe and others) in head.  He was first introduced to those visions in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show outside of the front gates of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. After this MacNeil traveled to the Southwestern United States. That experience affected him profoundly.  From then on, he produced sculptures and returned to those images of Native Americans and Indian themes throughout his life. 

In 1890 Buffalo Bill rode his troop around Vatican City for the PopeI never rode with the Pony Express, and neither did Buffalo Bill, though he was the right age to do it in 1860 (He did ride as a courier as a very young boy). However, I almost got a Pony Express ornament for my 1939 LaSalle in 2012 (see below). The statue is MacNeil’s. The LaSalle is mine. (The trailer belongs to Chris Carlsen.)  The location is Saint Joseph, Missouri.  Enough foolishness, already.  Below are more Pony Express images from St. Joe.

PonyLasBELOW IS MORE OF THE LEGEND AS CAPTURED BY HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL

IMG_1082

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr Strong's authentic Pony express gear from the 1930's.

Details of the mail bags as MacNeil modeled them after Dr. S. Mededith Strong’s authentic Pony express gear, spurs, saddle, mail bags, from the 1930’s.

 

Related Images:

Comments (0)
Since 1940, MacNeil's "Pony Express" has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The horse was modeled in the wild mustang, Pancho Villa.

Since 1940, Hermon A. MacNeil’s “Pony Express” has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The statue was modeled on the wild mustang, “Pancho Villa”, an outlaw stallion captured on the North Dakota prairie and bucking off rodeo cowboys all the way to Madison Square Garden in NYC.

Pony_Express_Credit to XP-Rider

The LAST STOP of Pony_Express_Rider outside Harrah’s at Lake Tahoe.   Appears similar to MacNeil‘s sculpture in St. JO, MO. [ Photo Credit to XP-Rider — http://www.xphomestation.com/ ]

The Hermon A MacNeil statue of of the “Pony Express” in downtown St. Joe will point the way as it has daily for 73 years, of “heading west, young man, heading West!”

MacNeil’s model for this work was a wild stallion from North Dakota that ran in the rodeo circuit as a ‘outlaw’ horse named “Poncho Villa.” The untamed bucking bronco put six men in the hospital during his rodeo career.  Dr. S. Meredith Strong acquired the stallion from the rodeo as it was breaking up after its last performance in Madison Square Garden. (Click on “Star” news article below).

While you are in St. Joseph be sure to stop at Patee House Museum (CLICK for photos) and the Pony National Express Museum (CLICK for More).  And see MacNeil’s statue for his muscles of “Poncho Villa” captured in bronze. The statue has lasted much longer than the Pony Express in its 78 week history.  (April 3, 1860 to Oct 24, 1961 ).

The 2013 Re-ride will offer beautiful horse flesh again this year. This 10-day, 24-hour a day, non-stop event by over 600 riders and horses travels over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from Missouri through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada to California.  (Not “instant messaging”, but an amazing feat of daring by teenage riders like Buffalo Bill Cody.)

The 2013 Annual Re-Ride of the Pony Express Trail conducted by the National Pony Express Association starts in St. Joseph, MO and goes to Sacramento, California, June 17 – 27, 2013.  It is the longest event held annually on a  Historical trail in the nation.  

Hermon MacNeil' "Pony Express" monument is modeled on an actual wild stallion from North Dakota named "Poncho Villa."

That is Hermon MacNeil seated on the “Pony Express” monument. An actual wild stallion from North Dakota named “Poncho Villa”  was his model for the historic piece. CLICK on Article TO READ & ENLARGE.

The event commemorated the 1860-1861 Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company which carried letters and telegrams for 19 months to prove the Central Route through Salt Lake passable year round. The owners hoped to win a federal mail contract on that route. Pony Express history is preserved in the federally designated Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, in museums, Pony Rider monuments, books, and the annual recreations by the NPEA.

Dr. Strong, who tamed the original “Poncho” that MacNeil modeled for his sculpture, was the  president of the American Rough Riders, a organization devoted to the preservation of the American horse, especially the native, wild pony.  The saddle, saddle bags, reins, and mail pouches were all modeled after Dr. Strong’s collection of authentic Pony Express gear.  While Strong managed to gain Poncho’s confidence, the animal remained but a one-man horse. He was gentle as a lamb around Dr Strong, but when a stranger appeared, he became a fierce wild stallion again.  He certainly was of the breed that the Pony Express fostered in their brief 18 month history.

The Re-riders will also carry Commemorative Letters in a Mochila, Pony Express style. The 2013 cachet will be a vignette of Pony Express history in Utah and will be available for purchase by NPEA members, historians, and philatelists. The envelopes will show they were carried by the Pony Express and the first class postage will have a special US Postal service cancellation. Only the number of letters purchased will be carried. Every year Ham Radio plays a very important part of the Re-Ride by providing communications over parts of the trail where communication by other means is not available. This gives those personnel responsible for that part of the Re-Ride information as to where the rider is and if the mail is on time. Communications between Riders and Ride Captains will be provided by amateur radio operators in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, eastern Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Ranked among the most remarkable feats to come out of the 1860 American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Its primary mission was to deliver mail and news between St. Joseph, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. Hermon MacNeil’s Statue in St. Joseph, Missouri, marks the beginning point of the trail.

Contact Information

Outside of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
www.xphomestation.com/
(916) 332-8382
15 US Hwy 50
Lake Tahoe, NV 89449AND
Pony Express Home Station
MORE at:

http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org/content/national-pony-express-re-ride/sie96F0793CD88DD4A50

http://www.xphomestation.com/
Established March 1993

Related Images:

Comments (0)

Since 1940, MacNeil's "Pony Express" has galloped westward out of Saint Joseph, Missouri, on the 10 day mail run to Sacramento, California. The horse was modeled on a wild mustang from North Dakota, named "Pancho Villa."

MacNeil modeled the saddle, spurs and rider's accessories after Dr. Strong's collection of authentic western gear .

The bronze “Pony Express” horse and rider galloping out of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri, since 1940, is Hermon A. MacNeil’s immortalizing of “Pancho Villa.”  The sculptor modeled the monument’s “glorious horse flesh” after an actual “outlaw” wild mustang from the North Dakota prairies, named “Pancho Villa” (after the Mexican outlaw). (See the original 1946 ‘Long Island Star – Journal” story below).

‘Pancho Villa’ put six rodeo cowboys in the hospital before he allowed Dr. S. Meredith Strong, a Flushing physician, to tame and ride him. The ‘cowboy doctor’ (as he was called) bought the animal after its last rodeo performance in Madison Square Garden, New York City.    Originally, “Pancho Villa” was captured from the North Dakota prairie where he ran with a herd of wild horses.

Spurs and saddle detail

Dr. Strong, who died in 1946 (see obituary below), was the National President of the American Rough Riders Association, a group devoted to the preservation of the wild mustangs. He traveled thousands of miles as a lover-of-horse-flesh seeking to preserve this western heritage. He and MacNeil must have had some interesting conversations.  (The newspaper photo below shows Hermon MacNeil seated on the statue).

I am grateful to James E. Haas, (author, researcher, and Hermon-MacNeil-enthusiast) for this resource find. Jim has become this website’s “official research detective” and a true benefactor of history on Hermon A. MacNeil.   Through his detective work over 150 digital sources have been given to me as webmaster. His books on College Point history can be found at his website. CLICK HERE    (http://www.jimhaasbooks.com/).

Hermon MacNeil' "Pony Express" monument is modeled on an actual wild stallion from North Dakota named "Poncho Villa." The man seated on the statue base by the sculptors signature is Hermon MacNeil himself.

In related news the National Pony Express Association will conduct its annual Re-Ride over the 1,966 mile route of the Pony Express National Historic Trail from California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas to Missouri, June 12 to 23, 2012.  Like the statue, this annual event preserves this history that Dr. Strong and Hermon MacNeil so loved.

“Giddy-up Poncho”

The "Long Island Star-Journal" published this obituary of Meredith Strong on February 4, 1946. Twenty months later, Hermon MacNeil died as well.

Related Images:

On a rainy day recently I visited MacNeil’s Pony Express statue in Saint Joseph, Missouri. I took numerous photos. After posting about a half a dozen, I realized that I omitted one rather light-hearted composition from that drizzly photo session.  It shows the horse and rider as an over-sized hood ornament on my 1939 LaSalle sedan.

“Lass,” the Webmasters 1939 LaSalle sizes up the 1940 MacNeil Pony Express Statue as possible hood ornament upgrade. Both metal art pieces are in their seventies.

NOTE: No ponies, Express Riders or LaSalles were injured in the making of this picture.  No disrespect for the City of St. Joe, the Pony Express, the people of Missouri, the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors (manufacturer of LaSalle automobiles from 1923 to 1940), or any other persons (living or deceased) is intended in the making of this picture.  It was just a twitch of the finger  that seemed a good idea at the time (just as posting it on a Wednesday evening at 10PM right now feels like the right thing to do! )

Related Images:

In the heart of downtown Saint Joseph, Missouri the “Pony Express Rides Again.”

The Pony Express - Saint Joe, Mo

Hermon A. MacNeil’s massive 1940 Sculpture has been heading ‘west’ out of town since its installation at the origin of historic Pony Express trail across Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, to California.

St Joe Missouri to Sacramento California in only 10 days

Visit this Sculpture by Hermon A. MacNeil

[mappress]

Related Images:

I RECEIVED AN EMAIL on September 24, 2023 FROM:

Kevin James Kirby in California

Dear Mr. Leininger, 

Greetings from California. I would like to thank you for your excellent website on the artist Hermon A. MacNeil. I found the information therein both interesting and helpful.

 

That said, the real reason why I am writing is to alert you to the fact that I am about to sell a

very rare 1894 bronze sculpture of

Black Pipe.

It is only the second presently known to be in existence
(the other being well documented

on your website).

To this, I replied the next morning that I was VERY interested in purchasing this rare MacNeil piece.

Later I received a response from Kevin:

Good morning Mr. Leininger,

Thank you for your reply. And how fortuitous that Black Pipe is so present in your thoughts!

My wife (PhD in art history ) and I (Bachelor of Science in sculpture) are both keen enthusiasts of art and history.

We have read almost all the associated literature, and have discussed this piece with various academics and institutions.

Indeed, Black Pipe’s is an incredible origin story — as is MacNeil’s.

KEVIN WENT ON TO OFFER SOME

VERBAL PROVENANCE OF THE PIECE

As part of our private research, I have also been in direct contact with the

Lakota Sioux Nation at Standing Rock.

I was lucky enough to visit the Reservation in 2020,

and inquire directly about Black Pipe.

There I met an elder who remembered hearing about Black Pipe, who apparently was a member of the Rosebud Reservation, just south of Standing Rock.

However, unfortunately, the timing of the pandemic
necessitated the closure of the reservations, and

prevented further research;

and I have been unable to return since.

Needless to say, the story embodied within

this sculpture is  close to my heart!

And it is not lightly that I let go this artwork to a new owner. 

However, as our private collection grows, it moves in new directions…

So … WE MADE THE TRANSACTION!

Kevin packed up this

“BLACK PIPE THE SIOUX AT SIX TEEN YEARS” 

BLACKPIPE THE SIOUX: Carefully packed by Kevin Kirby and ready for shipment to SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota.

 

NOW … MACNEIL’s 1st bronze ~ BLACKPIPE ~

rests proudly Between a mini

PONY EXPRESS

(MACNEIL’S LAST BRONZE – 1940)

and a mini of Jo Davidson’s FDR

With Jo Davidson’s “unique bronze bust”

of his first studio teacher

HERMON ATKINS MAC NEIL

looking on from the other side.

 

 

BLACK PIPE (1894) and PONY EXPRESS (1940)

ARE MACNEIL’S alpha & omega

of bronze works …

They are side by side now.

 

James Kirby comments:

Wonderful to see Black Pipe

“in pride of place”

(as my British wife says)

properly ensconced in your

impressive collection!

Thank you for sharing these photos with us.

ALL very happy!

 

 

 

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

Alexander Hamilton plaster model (reverse) with de-assession tag at Swope Art Museum

Plaster models from the studio of

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

are returning to College Point thanks to.  

James Haas

(MacNeil biographer and College Point author)

Hermon Atkins MacNeil: American Sculptor In the Broad, Bright Daylight

Jim Haas, with help from Charlie Chiclacos, traveled to

Swope Art Museum

in Terre Haute, Indiana,

where the plasters have been in storage since 1947 after the death of the sculptor.  His widow Cecelia MacNeil released them from the  MacNeil estate
 

Jim Haas and Charlie Chiclacos, drove a rental van to Terre Haute last month to retrieve the pieces.

One rescued piece is the Adventurous Bowman model (1915). The final plaster stood atop the Column of Progress at the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco (See photos below)

“Column of Progress” with MacNeil’s “Adventurous Bowman” as the finial figure on top.

Adventurous Bowman model (1915). The final plaster stood atop the Column of Progress at the Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco

Swope Art Museum received the remaining plaster models from the original MacNeil Studio before it was sold and demolished.  

 
The Bowman plaster has a broken arm and bow.   < See photos above and below.>  The pieces seem intact enough for possible repair. 
 
Since the Pan-Pacific Exposition closed in 1916  all buildings and monuments were demolished.    This broken model is the only remnant of depicting the “Adventurous Bowman.”
    
The MacNeil home and studio were occupied for several years, but once the property was sold both buildings were demolished. The site of the MacNeil Studio and home were prime real estate located on the East River Sound adjoining Chisholm Park
 
In 1966, the centennial of Hermon’s birth, the City of New York renamed that park as:
 
 “MacNeil Park”
 
to honor the name of the Sculptor-couple who lived and worked there in College Point for half a century.  A condominium complex stands on the original site of the MacNeil property.
 
The Poppenheusen Institute will be the new caretaker of these pieces.

Hermon MacNeil served on the board there.  His plaster of “The White Man Coming” has been displayed there for nearly a century. (See below)

“Coming of the White Man” original clay model 72 inches high at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point, Queens, New York.

 
Unsuccessful efforts were made a decade ago to bring these MacNeil remnants home to College Point . (Click to see the George Washington piece)
 
Seventy-five years have passed since the sculptor’s death in 1947. 
 

 

Pre-order Price Guarantee.
FREE delivery on $25 shipped by Amazon.
This title has been released -Nov 2022.
 
STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~
Related posts:
  1. Hermon MacNeil’s “Pony Express” or “Pancho Villa” Rides Again! (4) The bronze “Pony Express” horse and rider galloping out of…
  2. Another “Chief of the Multnomah” Has Appeared in the East. (4) There is another “Chief of the Multnomah.” Today I received…
  3. Jo Davidson – A young artist describes the MacNeil Studio in College Point. (4) The MacNeil Studio no longer stands. In it’s nearly fifty…
  4. Hermon Atkins MacNeil: BIOGRAPHY Published !!! (4) Author and historian, James E. Haas has completed  “Hermon Atkins…
  5. Poppenhusen Institute makes MacNeil Collection Appeal! (3) The Poppenhusen Institute (just blocks from the site of MacNeil’s…
  6. MacNeil Park ~ A Call for Sculpture Proposals. Thanks Kathryn Cervino! (3) oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo MacNeil Park: Portico to the East River 156 Candles…

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

The first Standing Liberty Quarter

struck in 1916 was given to

Hermon A. MacNeil, the designer.  

That original “Specimen” minting of the SLQ has

re-emerged in 2022 at an

American Numismatic Association show.

Story inspired by: CoinWeek.com on 6-14-2022 at (https://coinweek.com/us-coins/macneils-personal-1916-standing-liberty-quarter-at-ana-money-show/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two MacNeil ‘Ladies’ from 1916 are posed side-by-side.

ON LEFT:  1916 STANDING LIBERTY QUARTER

~~ Original SPECIMEN. 

ON RIGHT: “PAT” ( Intellectual Development

~~ [ 1916 Patten Gymnasium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL ]

Photo Credit: DFW Coin & Jewelry Center …  [ Retrieved from CoinWeek.com on 6-14-2022 at (https://coinweek.com/us-coins/macneils-personal-1916-standing-liberty-quarter-at-ana-money-show/ 

The CoinWeek website reported on March 1, 2022 that: 

MacNeil’s Personal 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter appeared at a ANA Money Show

By DFW Coin & Jewelry Center ……

The Standing Liberty quarter was designed by Hermon MacNeil and was minted from 1916 to 1930.

An exciting development at the FUN Convention (Florida United Numismatists) in Orlando earlier this year was the reappearance of MacNeil’s own Standing Liberty quarter, which is reportedly the first one struck.  Later, PCGS graded this 1916 quarter as AU-58 and featured the term “MacNeil Specimen” on the label inside the PCGS holder. It will be displayed by the DFW Coin & Jewelry Center at the upcoming ANA National Money Show at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, March 10 to 12.

Kris Oyster of DFW Coin & Jewelry Center purchased this quarter in a Capital Plastics holder at the FUN Convention in January and had it in a PCGS holder at the Long Beach Expo in February. This quarter is accompanied by two documents with notarized signatures, which relate to its provenance since it was received by MacNeil.

Hermon MacNeil was born in 1866 in Massachusetts and died in 1947 in New York. In 1966, a New York City park in College Point, Queens, was named in his honor.

MacNeil’s large works can still be viewed at various public places around the United States. His Pony Express statue in St. Joseph, Missouri, is extremely popular. His trio of statues, Guardians of Liberty, is located at the east pediment of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. MacNeil’s statue of Ezra Cornell at Cornell University is important to that institution.

The MacNeil sculpture, Intellectual Development, in front of the Patten gymnasium at Northwestern University is very much reminiscent of the female figure of liberty on the Standing Liberty quarter.  (Thus, the two MacNeil ‘Ladies’ are posed side by side in the photo above.)

MacNeil presented his own 1916 Standing Liberty quarter to his step-daughter, Dorothy Muenich. She was married to W.H. Schuling.

On August 10, 1962, Schuling’s signature was notarized on a statement that this quarter was the “first of its type off the press.” In addition to a notary, two other people witnessed Schuling sign this document, which was intended to accompany the coin from 1962 on (and still does).

Another notarized document reveals that a collector purchased this Standing Liberty quarter at the 1964 ANA Convention in Cleveland, in front of a dealer from Houston who is named in the document. In addition to the notary, another witness signed this second document, which is recently dated, “December 20, 2021”. There is thus a lineage from Hermon MacNeil to the present.

Kris Oyster, the proprietor of DFW Coin & Jewelry Center, said he “may consider putting the coin up for auction at a later date but wants to enjoy it for the time being as well as displaying it for others to see at coin shows.”

The two notarized documents explained above accompany the coin and will be part of the display.

Oyster may be reached by email, KOyster@live.com, or through the DFW Coin & Jewelry Center website, www.dfwcjc.com.
 

Retrieved from CoinWeek.com on 6-14-2022 at (https://coinweek.com/us-coins/macneils-personal-1916-standing-liberty-quarter-at-ana-money-show/ )

Retrieved from CoinWeek.com on 6-14-2022 at (https://coinweek.com/us-coins/macneils-personal-1916-standing-liberty-quarter-at-ana-money-show/ )

2016 MacNeil Medallion marks the 150th Anniversary the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil.

2016 MacNeil Medallion marking the 100th Anniversary the minting of the Standing Liberty Quarter. 

This website has documented the Standing Liberty Quarter dozens of times. 

The  MacNeil Medallion (at right) cast in 2016, commemorates:

1) the Centennial of this beautiful coin; 

2) the Sesquicentennial of Hermon’s birth in 1866; 

3) this Website dedicated to the life and works of Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

Commissioned by our webmaster, these numbered medals are available on eBay.

Related posts:

  1. Edward A. Van Orden, “Collecting a Masterpiece; an Introduction to the Standing Liberty quarter” (3) ~~ SLQ ~~ Part One ~~ In September 2019 the…
  2. MacNeil’s “Standing Liberty Quarter” and “I’ve Got a Secret” April 4, 1966 (2) 100 years after the birth of Hermon MacNeil and fifty…
  3. 2016 ~ A Double Anniversary Year for Hermon Atkins MacNeil (2) 1886-2016 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Hermon A. MacNeil…
  4. Happy 153rd Birthday~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil ~ February 27, 2019 (2) TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth of Hermon…
  5. Standing Liberty Quarter ~ MacNeil’s First Design (2) Hermon MacNeil’s first concept for the new Liberty Standing Quarter…
  6. MacNeil Month ~ Week 3 ~~ (2) ⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐ ⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒ Part 3 of “Sculptor Americanus” citing Memories of…

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

Every February is MacNeil Month here,

 … at http://HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com …  Because:

  • Hermon Atkins MacNeil was born on February 27, 1866
  • Thomas Henry McNeil, (his cousin & my grandfather), was born February 29, 1860
  • Two US Presidents that Hermon sculpted had February Birthdays:

    • Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809
    • George Washington on February 22, 1732
    • SO we have made each February into our “MacNeil Month”

SO WELCOME TO “MacNeil Month 2022” ~ Our 12th since 2010

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐ ⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

“Sculptor Americanus”

citing Memories of

Hermon A. MacNeil

by Cecelia W. M. MacNeil

~ Part  2, The Antiques Journal, May 1974 ~

 

Cecelia MacNeil credits the following statement to Adolph Block:

“… all that Hermon Atkins MacNeil

lacks

to acquire fame

is a good biographer.”

Adolph Block  should know. He too was a sculptor.     (more)

He studied sculpture with Hermon MacNeil, and Alexander Stirling Calder, both of whom sculpted the two George Washington statues on the Arch.  He studied also with Edward McCartan, another student and studio assistant of Hermon MacNeil.  At the time that Cecelia credits the above quote, Mr. Block was then the editor of The National Sculpture Review, a post he held for many years.

Jo Davidson’s portrait bust of Hermon draped in MacNeil Tartan. This unique piece was made in 1945 at Hermon’s home then cast in bronze.

Block also wrote of Hermon — words that Cecelia quotes saying: “Adolph Block captured Hermon’s spirit in The National Sculpture Review, writing of him with love (a consistent feeling of all who knew Hermon):

“His youth was spent on his father’s farm in fundamental, frugal, and beautiful New England.  In his veins flowed the same kind of blood that pumped through the hearts of  Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, love of life and a vivid imagination born of Scotland’s bonnie brooks, green hills, and rugged rocky shores.

Handsome, he possessed a warm heart, a dry sense of humor, a great talent, the courage of his convictions, and tremendous drive.  Ambitious and industrious, his large eyes were a tornado of activity — he studied, he taught, he created, in whatever order opportunity presented itself. 2

In the second of these articles, Cecelia begins by describing the June day in 1943 when Hermon began dictating his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to his secretary.

“My memories and reminiscences of Hermon are still pure and unprecipitated (sic) by chemicals, as his sculptures have become.”  She adds: “I was nursing him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia.  He was feeling much better and was in a jovial mood.”  Cecelia MacNeil, June 1971; (AJ-2, p.28)

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

Cecelia Weick Muench, R.N.

Home Care Nurse

Years before Cecelia W. Muench became Cecelia MacNeil she was the Home Care Nurse not only for Carol Brooks MacNeil, but also for Hermon MacNeil. 

This was revealed in the TIMELINE drawn from evidence in her three articles series “Sculptor Americanus.”  1,2,3

The following Facts are reported in these articles:

  • Cecelia was present in the MacNeil home for conversations with Hermon MacNeil. 
  • Hermon called his secretary, Marie Mutschler, into the room to take notes
  • The next four pages of the May 1974 article by Cecelia describe Hermon as he told stories of his life.

In my research at the Cornell Library Archives, the “MacNeil Papers”  contain an eleven page typed document entitled “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”:

  • The voice narrating this document is that of Hermon MacNeil.
  • On page 11, he ends his Autobiography with two sentences saying:

“In short, I feel that I have had a very fortunate life, living as someone said on ‘THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCULPTURE’.  As I write this in June, 1943, with the world in a terrific struggle it would seem to be true enough for my span of life will not last for the next revival of sculpture.”   

Here Hermon closes his Autobiographical Sketch.

⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐⇐|⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

MacNeil Timeline 1940-1947

Changes and Losses in Hermon’s closing years of life

1940  November 19 —  Dedication of the last monumental sculpture of Hermon MacNeil’s career

  • “The Pony Express” dedicated in St. Joseph, Missouri

1943 June   — Hermon MacNeil dictated his AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH to Marie Mutchler, his personal secretary.

  • Cecelia W. Muench, RN, his home care nurse, was present
  • She nursed him through a prolonged attack of tachycardia in June 1943
  • Cecelia also nursed Carol Brooks MacNeil in the MacNeil Home.  She had a front row seat to Hermon’s lived-grief over the last months of his “Carrie.” 

1944 June 22 —  Death of Carol Brooks MacNeil

  • As Carol’s condition worsened, her needs exceeded the home-care options of the day. 
  • Carol was admitted to the Jamacia (Queens) Hospital dying there shortly after.

1945    — Hermon MacNeil’s second marriage to Cecilia W. Muench, R.N. also a widow

1946 February 4Death of Dr. S. Meredith Strong – “The Cowboy Doctor” whose stallion, “Poncho Villa,” was Hermon s model for “The Pony Express” statue. 

1947 October 2 — Death of Hermon MacNeil  

1947 October 18 — MacNeil Will filed in Probate

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:

  1. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  2. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  4. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

     

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

Twenty-seven years after Hermon MacNeil’s death,  Cecelia Weick MacNeil, his second-wife, wrote a series of three articles which she entitled:

“Sculptor Americanus:

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL”

Cecelia MacNeil, RN (1945). Born Cecelia Weick in 1897. She served as a nurse in WWI in the European theater. She married Karl Weick in about 1920.

 

Cecelia opens the first of three articles with memories of her 12th Birthday in 1909. 

Born in 1897, Cecelia Weick told the story of first the day that she ever heard the name of “Hermon Atkins MacNeil”  

NOTE:  Thirty-seven years later … Hermon would ask her to marry him.  

As a birthday surprise, her father took her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ascending into the American Wing, they sat down on a bench near MacNeil’s sculpture group of “The Sun Vow.”  Sixty-four years later, Cecelia described their visit to that sculpture this way:

 

Owen Schweers, my own grandson, in front of “The Sun Vow” that Cecelia Weick and her father saw on her 12th Birthday. He visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City about 110 Years after Cecelia. That particular casting of MacNeil’s statue was placed there by Daniel Chester French.

“The Sun Vow portrays two Indians, elder and younger, chief and future brave, grandfather and grandson.  The grandfather, his body still subtle and strong, is weary just the same. The viewer knows that the chieftain’s feathered head-dress … will never again be worn.  The old Indian holds this symbol of authority on his lap as he presses the young Indian to him.  The grandchild holds an arrowless bow, symbolizing the celebration of coming of age in the in Indian lore but transcending the culture of any age.  For when the young brave is able to shoot an arrow into the son, far enough away so that its decent to earth passes unseen, then he has attained manhood. 

After at least five minutes of silence my father commented.

‘Ceil, the man who created this work is surely one of the greatest American Sculptors. Never, never forget his name.’

I am still a romantic.  My father’s words were to be part of my destiny.  37 years later I married Hermon Atkins MacNeil.”

 

Sculptor AMERICANUS

CECELIA opened her first of three articles with those memories of her 12th Birthday.   Continuing, she describes her sculptor, hero, and sunset-partner with the following phrases:

The Sculptor:

  • MODESTY was so much a part of Hermon MacNeil
    • Will my words of praise cause his spirit to stir ?
    • Will my words cause his truly American soul to BLUSH?
  • A successful bronze gives the sculptor a few steps toward immortality.
  • A Creator of Memorials, Coins and Medals
  • Time has made almost Hermon a forgotten American type …
    • an extinct species
    • whose works are ravaged by time, corrosion, spoilage …
  • Hermon loved sculpting American Indians in their naturalness and beauty.
  • Cecelia cites Jean Stansbury Holden’s description of Hermon in 1907 as:
    • a boyish, slender, medium height, with large eyes that meet you with a twinkle
    • a serious sculptor when working …
    • without pretense of his accomplishments …
    • When keeps his medals from:
      • Chicago Exposition – 1893;
      • Paris Exposition – 1900
      • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY – 1901
      • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis – 1904
      • and numerous others
      • IN DRAWERS in his studio, and rubs off some of the tarnish before showing them
      • TRULY without Pretension or POMP.

AMERICANUS: 

Quoting Jean Stansbury Holden she adds,

“While his work shows this variety in subject and treatment, one quality runs through it all; Whatever he touches is, in its very essence American; it smacks of the soil.” 1

Mrs. MacNeil then suggests:

American history can be studied by totaling up Hermon’s works.  This can be seen by mentioning a mere scattering of examples — The Pony Express, McKinley, The Pilgrim Fathers, Pere Marquette, Ezra Cornell, George Rogers Clark, the eastern pediment of the United States Supreme Court Building — and the most familiar and relevant of all, the marble of Washington as Commander-in-Chief, which along with Stirling Calder’s figure of Washington as President, graces Stanford White’s Washington Arch in Greenwich Village.  (bold added).

Source: Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”. (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974, p. 54.

BUT then Cecelia sounded a shrill alarm for the Washington Arch.  Pointing out 1974 photos showing decades of decay.   Air pollution.  traffic (Cars, buses) traveled through the arch for over 75 years.   Cleaning by abrasive sandblasting and eroded the soft marble of both statues by MacNeil and Calder.

Figure 6 shows the toll on MacNeil’s statue of Washington’s pitted face.

She writes:

“Washington’s nose has been carelessly damaged by thoughtless sandblasting (figure 6).   Sandblasting marble!  Now th first President resembles a leper. Aldolph Block, former student of Hermon, reknowned (sic) president of the National Sculpture Society (as Hermon was on two different occasions) despairs over the disaster to this historical landmark.  Smog from the air, vandalism, time, such factors can be expected.  But destruction such as Washington has suffered, accidental as it may have been, seems all too contemporary.”  

Over the years Cecelia MacNeil wrote many letters to the responsible officials seemingly hopeless battle.”  Her complaints as well as Mr. Block’s were “for all intents and purposes, ignored. 

Cecelia shares her familiarity with her late partner by suggesting:

1916 Photo of the installation of the MacNeil statue. Thia appears to have the statue sitting in the right hand leg of the Arch. The left leg is where it was permanently installed. Photo Credit: John Gomez, NYC. [ https://i0.wp.com/hermonatkinsmacneil.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/MacNeil-Washington-Arch-1.jpeg?resize=799%2C1024&ssl=1 ]

“One can NOT imagine Hermon and his fellow sculptors ignoring Washington’s face.  In no time at all a group of them, most of whom worked with Hermon, would have a scaffold up.  A roster would include (Phillip) Martiny, Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Alexander Stirling Calder, giants all.  I can see Hermon chewing on a small cigar, making jokes.”         

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This concludes

Part 1 of MacNeil Month.

In Part 2 we will examine the

History and RESTORATION of the Washington Arch and the

two Washington Statues.

~~~~~~~~~~~

READ MORE:   History of Washington Arch by New York Architecture

~~~~~~~~~~~

FOOTNOTES:

Traffic in the 1950s

  1. Holden, Jean Stansbury (October 1907). “The Sculptors MacNeil“. The World’s Work: A History of Our Time XIV: 9403–9419. [Retrieved from GOOGLE eBooks]
  2. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (First in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, April 1974,  pp. 10-13, 54.
  3. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Second in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, May 1974,  pp. 28-31.
  4. Cecelia MacNeil with Dr. Allen Nestle. “Sculptor Americanus: Hermon Atkins MacNeil”.   (Third in a Series of Three), The Antiques Journal, June 1974,  pp. 32-35, 51.
  5. Lynn H. Burnett. (Editor’s Comments:)“Hermon Atkins MacNeil in Historical Perspective”.  The Antiques Journal April 1974, pp. 4, 5, 48.

~~~~~~~

Related posts:

WASHINGTON ARCH in the 1920’s

  1. INDEPENDENCE DAY Images ~ from Hermon A. MacNeil (5) Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins…
  2. Washington Statues “Bleeding” with Red Paint! MacNeil & Calder works defaced. (5) We were saddened to hear that “red paint” was splattered…
  3. The death of Carol Brooks MacNeil and Hermon MacNeil’s remarriage. (5) Cecelia W. Muench MacNeil In 1944 Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil…
  4. Happy (actual) Birthday, Mr. Washington! ~~~ ~~~ Visit New York City for MacNeil Month ~~~ (#8) (4) George Washington  February 22, 1732 Pictured below is Hermon A. …
  5. MacNeil’s “General George Washington” shows up on “Forgotten New York” virtual tour. (4) On this 281st anniversary of the birth of George Washington…
  6. Senator Bernie Sanders Calls for a Political Revolution at Washington Arch. (4) NEW YORK CITY — In Washington Square Park last evening,…

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL

1945 Bust of Hermon MacNeil by Jo Davidson

Photo from ~1945 at MacNeil Cabin in Vermont

TRANSITIONS  

On this day seventy-four years ago, Hermon Atkins MacNeil died at his College Point Studio on October 2, 1947. 

The Photo at right (taken at the MacNeil Cabin in Vermont) and the Bust by Jo Davidson) both date from about 1945, just two years before his death.

The website  CHICAGO LOOP.ORG  celebrates architecture in the Windy City.  They tell the MacNeil story this way: 1

“Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years. 1 When he died, the contents of the studio was “hauled out to the dump” (where, much of the collection was salvaged by neighbor, illustrator John A. Coughlin who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution.)  It hadn’t always been that way.” [See Note 1 Below]  http://chicagosculptureintheloop.blogspot.com/2012/01/hermon-atkins-macneil.html

One of several “Black Pipe” modelings that MacNeil sculpted. ~1894

They continue to say: “In 1891, 25 year-old MacNeil came West to Chicago.  Where he assisted Philip Martiny with sculpture at the Electricity Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893).  And, where, on the Midway, he met Black Pipe, an Ogala Sioux, performing at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Native Americans and their culture became the inspiration for MacNeil’s art for years to come.  By late 1895 he was on his way to Monument Valley  with Hamlin Garland and C.F. Browne — after working with Edward Kemeys at the Marquette (and no doubt hearing stories of Kemeys Wyoming adventures some 20 years earlier).  The travels West were just the beginning. 

On Christmas Day 1895 after winning the Prixe de Rome, he married Carol (Carrie) Brooks (one of Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits  – and a sculptor in her own right”).   They sailed to Europe to take up three years in residence at the American Academy in Rome.   And re-entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1900.  By 1901 he and Carol (with their two children) returned to America and established their studio in College Point on Long Island.  With an entire career before them.

To quote Chicago Architecture, “National in scope, Beaux Arts in inspiration, MacNeil returned to Chicago in 1909, briefly, for the Cook County Seal Commission.”

Hermon MacNeil ~ Seal of Cook County on the Courthouse ~ 1908

But my favorite remains his Four Panels of Father Marquette life scuplted in 1895 in Chicago.  “Where inspiration, youth, opportunity, and a beautiful, capable wife converged with the past and the future —

at the Marquette Building.”

Panel 4 – “The de Profundis was intoned … Fr. Marquette’s coffin carried.

Black Pipe, Sioux warrior from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, stranded after the 1893 World’s Fair closed. MacNeil took him in to his studio after he was desolate in Chicago.

The man front and center is Black Pipe.  (See detail at right). 

He is MacNeil’s model for the Ogalla Sioux Warrior memorialized at 140 South Dearborn Street.  Bearing the coffin of Father Marquette

See the entire collection of  Marquette photos at the CHICAGO LOOP.ORG

Originally Posted by chicagoandpointsnorth@gmail.com

Black Pipe lived at MacNeil’s studio, modeled for him, and worked as a gardener and assisted in tasks.

MacNeil’s bronze of Blackpipe, a Sioux warrior he befriended in 1893 (source Smithsonian Archives)

NOTE 1:

  1.  The comment Unable to transition from his Beaux Arts training to a more “modern” style, he had not had a major commission for nearly 15 years.”  is not entirely accurate.  The “15 years” comment ignores the following:  1) two statues (Alfred H. Terry and John Sedgwick) on Connecticut Capitol building in 1934;  2) the statue of George Rogers Clark at the National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana dedicated by President FDR in 1936; and 3) the Pony Express Monument in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1940.  It also overlooks 8 years of the Great Depression, plus 7 years of MacNeil’s retirement during those same fifteen years.   Furthermore, the word “unable” seems presumptuous.  Whether MacNeil was “unable” to transition or simply “chose not to transition” to a more modern style seems a false dilemma for speculatation.  His sixty-plus-years of sculpting in the Beaux Arts style fully documents his “able-ity” and his preference for creative expression. This website offers continual documentation of those abilities.

Related posts:

  1. Part 2: “Primitive Indian Music” ~ 1894 bronze casting discovered! Is this an early prototype of 1901 “Primitive Chant to the Great Spirit.” ??? (6) A recent inquiry from James Dixon has revealed a previously…
  2. “Chicago Sculpture in the Loop” features Hermon A. MacNeil’s Work at Marquette Building (5) Gregory H. Jenkins has posted stories of the Marquette Bronze…
  3. Hermon MacNeil Sculpture in the Chicago Loop (5) Gregory H. Jenkins AIA, Chicago architect and keeper of the …
  4. ~ ~ ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage! (5) 1895 Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947) MacNeil’s bronze of…
  5. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (5) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  6. MacNeil “Merry Christmas” (5) Christmas Greetings from the home of Hermon and Carol MacNeil. …

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

Hermon MacNeil sculpted this bust of Dwight L. Moody a century ago during the Flu Pandemic of 1919.   

One hundred years later (In 2019), I visited that MacNeil work in Sage Chapel on site at the Moody’s Northfield Seminary

The photo below records that visit.

Dwight L. Moody by Hermon MacNeil (1919). The century-old work rests Sage Chapel on site at the Moody’s Northfield Seminary. 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE for: Our first Discovery of Hermon MacNeil’s bronze bust of Evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1920) ~ “We Found It, Uncle Hermon!”

On June 6, 1919, Northfield paid Honors to Moody at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Founder’s Day in East Northfield, Mass. 

 The  four days of celebration included:

  • A Reception at the home of Principal C. E. Dickerson, Tuesday evening, marked the close of the commencement exercises and celebration of the 40th anniversary of the funding of Northfield Seminary. 
  • The Reunion of nearly five hundred former students and friends returned to Northfield.
  • The occasion honored the founder, Dwight L. Moody.
  • Moody’s youngest granddaughter, Margaret Moody, unveiled the portrait bust by pulling the draping off of her grandfather’s bronze likeness. 
  • Little Margaret is the daughter of  Chaplain Paul D. Moody, son of D. L. Moody and Head of Chaplains for the Allied Expeditionary Force (A.E.F).  
  • The bust is the gift of the alumnae and has graced Sage Memorial Chapel for over a century. 
  • Hermon MacNeil of New York sculpted the bust from a pencil drawing he made of Mr. Moody when the evangelist was in the vigor of his powers and from a death mask provided by the school.
  • MacNeil made the sketches at The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Moody organized  Sunday worship services held in the stadium built by William Cody for his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.” NO SUNDAY SHOWS were allowed at the Fair.  So, Moody rented it from Cody on Sundays and packed it with fair attenders and local pastors and their congregationschurch
  • It was presented by Mrs. Helen M. Williams of New York City, President of the board of trustees of the Northfield schools.  Another token of the esteem in which Northfield graduates hold their alma mater was the gift of $600 from the class of 1914.

This digital file of the article from the September 1919 issue of the Northfield Alumnae Chronicle is a treasure trove of background information.

  1. The bust was a gift of the Alumnae Association. Many small donations.
  2. Johnson’s presentation speech cites conversations with MacNeil. It is a wonderful piece of Northfield history and affection for Mr. Moody 20 years after his death. .
  3. MacNeil attended one of D. L. Moody’s Meetings in Chicago ( MacNeil was there between 1890-95).
  4. MacNeil made a hasty sketch of Moody at that meeting. He kept his sketch for years. 
  5. MacNeil created the bust of Moody and afterward told the alumnae (Mrs. Johnson (?)) the story of making the sketch.
  6. The bust was presented at a service in Sage Chapel.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1919Jun7-RDC-MoodyBust

 

SOURCES:

  1. Lost New England (retrieved 4-17-2021) [https://lostnewengland.com/category/massachusetts/northfield-massachusetts/]
    East Northfield, Mass. June 6, (1919)
  2. ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE.  Saturday, June 7, 1919

 

Related Images:

 

 MacNeil Month  #4  —  February 22, 2021 

 

JO Davidson

Political Sculptor 

Hermon MacNeil

Monument Maker

1930 – 1944

 

 JO DAVIDSON   ~ ~ “Political Sculptor” ~ ~

After the World War, requests for portrait busts occupied much of Jo Davidson’s  time sculpting.  His reputation for as a sculptor of good works and fast results traveled quicker than even his own frequent migrations across the Atlantic. He described his approach to portraits as “simple.”

I never had them pose but just talked about everything in the world.  Sculpture, I felt, was another language altogether and had nothing to do with words.  As soon as I got to work, I felt this other language growing between myself and the person I was “busting.”  I felt it in my hands.  Sometimes the people talked as if I was their confessor.  As they talked, I got an immediate insight into the sitters.”  [Between … p86-87.]

That approach used those same talented fingers that twenty years earlier touched clay in a barrel at Yale sculpture lab.  Those fingers were still touching the clay of Jo Davidson’s future.  Rather than hindering drive and ambition, the War years seemed to focus Jo more sharply.  

During the decades of the twenties, thirties, and forties “the powerful, the wealthy, and the talented were literally at Davidson’s fingertips.  During these three decades he completed hundreds of portraits as well as a numerous figural works.”

 DOUBLEDAY PORTRAITS  

In 1929 Jo had made a bust of George Doran of Doubleday, Doran and Company. Afterward George proposed an idea that Jo make busts of the company’s best selling authors in America and England.  The proposal and opportunities delighted Jo Davidson.

Jo’s self-appointed role as a “plastic historian” of his era contained his own mental list of potential subjects.  Many of Doran’s authors were already on Jo’s informal list.  Many were already Jo’s personal friends.  Later Doran sent a letter with a list of a dozen possible subjects.  Doran hosted a series of luncheons to gather the authors and initiate the project. 

Aldous Huxley by Jo Davidson, 1930

Through 1929-1930, Davidson modeled in Paris, London and New York to complete the assignment.  Eventually he completed portraits of James Boyce, Hugh Walpole, Frank Swinnerton, Edgar Wallace, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Booth Tarkington, Robinson Jeffers, Sir James Barrie, John Galsworthy, Georg Brandes, and Christopher Morley.  He made a bust of Rudyard Kippling from sketches made at a group luncheon, a product that delighted Doran. 

John Galsworthy by Jo Davidson

In June 1931, Jo Davidson opened a show of the results of the Doran project as “Portrait Busts of Some Contemporary Men of Letters” at Knoedler Galleries on Bond Street in New York City.  Jo added his portraits of George Bernard Shaw, James M. Barrie, and John Galsworthy to the show. The event was a benefit for the Royal Literary Fund.  Posters flooded the underground with busts of Shaw, Maugham, Lawrence and others. 

One reviewer wrote: “I never have never read a book of criticism that so subtly and completely inventoried the mind of the age as this room of Jo Davidson’s. It is a superb exercise of lively, sensitive, well-informed intelligence,”   All in all, the project and show assembled this “plastic historian’s” opus of English and American authors who produced many hundreds of novels of thought and imagination of the era.    [Between …, p241-264.]

1933 ~ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: That Man in the White House  

CARTOON: FDR, 1932.  ‘Just leave ’em, Herb. I’ll do it all after March 4.’ Cartoon, 1932, by Clifford Berryman.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as the 32nd President of the United States. The country was reeling in the third year of the Great Depression.   after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Both the ensuing action and inaction of President Hoover continued to fuel the economic crisis and decline.  In the next four years, Roosevelt would begin rolling out massive economic relief legislation such as the Emergency Banking Relief Act, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Recovery Administration and the Social Security Act.

At the suggestion of Sara Delano Roosevelt, the President’s mother, Jo Davidson went to Washington, D.C. to meet the new President after he took office on March 4th.  On entering the White House, he could hear barking dogs and voices of children in the distance.  The atmosphere impressed him as a friendly, alive, gay and human.  

The President was rolled in and greeted Jo with a broad, cheerful smile.  Then shaking Jo’s hand said: 

FDR:  “I’ve just had a meeting with a delegation of plasterers who want to have the plasterers and their assistants share in the profits.  That will fix your business.”

JoD:  “I am not a plasterer, … I am a chiseler!”  

Thus cementing our friendship, we made arrangements to get to work.  [Between …, p275.]

That evening Jo stayed at the White House for a conversational dinner with 14 guests.  Afterward he remained alone with the President and reviewed an album of busts Jo had made.  The President asked innumerable questions about Jo’s sitters many of whom he knew.  Their lively exchange continued past midnight.

The next day Jo sculpted the President sitting at his desk.  People came and went from the office.  Jo rolled his stand around to observe from all angles. The President put visitors at ease with jovial comments and winning smile.  He continued to work that evening and the next morning even as he sat in bed looking over papers.  Jo observed,

“President Roosevelt won me completely with his charm, his beautiful voice and his freedom from constraint.  He had unshakable faith in man.  All those projects — NRA, CWA, PWA, — all stemmed from his belief that if you give man a chance, he will not let you down.”

Jo outside the White House with his newest friend.

Jo also observed that the President did not forget about the Artists in his relief bills and WPA projects.  He admired the Presidents sense of direction.  Being a sailor he knew that traveling in a straight line was seldom possible.  Keeping a clear objective while tacking on and off course would still get you to the goal. 

  FROM ‘BUST’ TO ICON    Jo would go on to make numerous busts of Roosevelt, big, small, some carved in stone.  I observed a casting of this bronze bust bearing the Jo Davidson signature on the back while visiting the Churchill Museum at Fulton College in Fulton, Missouri several summers ago.  Churchill made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech there after Roosevelt’s death and the victory of World War II.   How thought it fitting that the curators of the Churchill Museum  choose Jo Davidson’s bust of FDR to portray that “Friendship that Saved the World.” 

Churchill and his family were also White House guests, soaking up the warmth and charm of the “sitting” President as was Jo when he sculpted.  Perhaps that warmth explains the thousands of souvenir miniatures imitating the original that are still sold in the marketplace ninety years later.  Or maybe as one critic phrased it, “His ‘President Roosevelt’ looks the character that the whole world has readily acknowledged.”

 1934 ~ LOSS OF LOVE ~ LOSS OF DIRECTION ~ 

One day Jo walked by a paint shop and saw a miniature water color set in the window bought it.  Less than two inches square he admired it. Compact and complete, it went in his pocket and never left him.  

Yvonne had been in poor health for several years, but was anxious to visit California to see their old friends Lincoln Steffens and his wife, Ella Winter.  The couples had been constant companions in their early years in Paris visiting Bistros and discovering “special foods in the French manner.”  They boarded a train heading cross-country to California. On the train Jo sketch and water-colored his way West.

Arriving in San Francisco they were besieged by reporters: Jo was the sculptor of the President and Yvonne was a great dress designer from Paris.  They visited old haunts and old friends staying with the Steffens.  But Yvonne felt worse. A doctor was called and she was put on rest.  She rallied some, visited old friends, and they returned to New York.  Back home Yvonne Davidson suffered a stroke and died two days later.

New York Daily News. Sunday, May 13, 1934.

The loss of his love of twenty-five years devastated Jo, and he began a period of “Restless Days” as he titled that chapter in his autobiography.  Those “Days” would last for three years.  He left for Paris but could not focus to work.  Life felt empty and cold.  He returned to his Bécheron studio, but his heart was not in it.  Returning to Paris he sought to settle down with his grown sons but their lives were young and Jo’s was old.  Finally he returned to New York but without Yvonne, he found it just as lonely as Paris and Bécheron.  He felt deep loss of love and direction.  

“During these years my life was without an anchor.  I kept on traveling — London, New York, Washington, Paris, California, but I was too restless to stay anywhere for very long.  I was still looking for some project in which I could completely forget myself.

A quarter of a century earlier in his life, Jo was a wanderer — looking, searching, roving until he found “the sculptor within.”  But now with the loss of love, the loss of companionship, he struggled to find direction — a reason to work, a passion to give his hands to, a project to consume his active craving for carving art. 

 MORE DISAPPOINTMENTS  He received a letter from a friend asking if he would consider doing a statue of Thomas Paine to be placed in Paris.  Paine along with Walt Whitman were two early heroes in Jo’s personal pantheon.  After hopes and excitement from friends, he was flattened to learn that the committee his friend was on had already awarded the commission to Gutzum Borglum.  Dejected, he put his sketch of Thomas Paine in his studio drawer. 

To this regret was added a further blow.  Jo returned to Paris only to learn that his beloved friend, Lincoln Steffens, had died.  Steffens was a listener.  Jo didn’t have many.  For nearly two decades he valued that understanding ear.  This dear friend’s passing was a deep loss and only compounded the Restless Days with another layer of sorrow.

 1935 ~ A NATIONAL LOSS  ~  WILL ROGERS DIES 

On August 15, 1935, American humorist and “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son,” Will Rogers died with aviator Wiley Post  when their small plane crashed after take-off in Point Borrow, Alaska. The pair were on an around-the-globe flight.  In 1931 Post had become the first man to fly solo round-the-world.

Will Rogers had become an American Icon.  An actor on stage and films, a vaudeville performer, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator; Will  was “a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.”  The warm humor of this home-spun figure won the hearts of Americans long before his sudden death at the height of the Great Depression.  His passing was a shocking sorrow in very trying times for the American public.

Jo Davidson had wanted to do a bust of Rogers but never had.  Betty, Will’s wife, had often urged him to pose for Jo.  Will would always decline jokingly calling Jo “old that headhunter” to the amusement of Jo and all nearby.  

Weeks later dining in New York with Sidney Kent of Fox Films, Jo shared his regret and the desire to immortalize Will Rogers.  Kent concurred, and agreed to lend Jo some of Will’s old movies to do the modeling work.   Jo received a letter from E. W. Marland, his old oil man friend from Ponca City, Oklahoma and the Pioneer Woman commission.  Marland was now Governor Marland.  Jo went of Oklahoma City, visited with the Governor and signed a contract to make the Will Rogers statue.

Returning to his Paris Studio the Fox Films crew set up a big projector and large screen and began running continuous movies of Will Rogers in the front studio while Jo worked in the back.  Friends gathered in this new Will Rogers “studio” for a week as Jo “worked, talked, and lived nothing but Will Rogers.  The films brought back so many memories.”  [Between …, p. 298.]

“Betty Rogers sent Wills clothes, his shirt, his tie and his shoes. … Then I had the model put on Will’s clothes.  They still contained his personality.  Clothes have a way of being impersonal until they are worn; then they become a part of the person who wore them — like a glove before and after wearing. [Between …, pp. 299-300.]

 

– Will Rogers – Keeping an eye on Congress… since June 6, 1939.

“Before his death, the state of Oklahoma commissioned a statue of Rogers, to be displayed as one of the two it has in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the United States Capitol. Rogers agreed on the condition that his image would be placed facing the House Chamber, supposedly so he could “keep an eye on Congress”. Of the statues in this part of the Capitol, the Rogers sculpture is the only one facing the Chamber entrance—a stakeout location for camera crews looking to catch House members during and after voting. It is also a common background for reporters and lawmakers, with staff often directing the media to be at the “Will Rogers stakeout” at a certain time. According to some Capitol guides, each US president rubs the left shoe of the Rogers statue for good luck before entering the House Chamber to give the State of the Union address.” [34]   [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Rogers]

Claremore, Oklahoma — Will Rogers Museum – centerpiece

When the second statue was dedicated in the rotunda of the Will Rogers Museum in Claremont, Oklahoma. 20,000 people from all over came for the unveiling — Indians, cowboys, and other friends of Will’s.  A radio program was broadcast nation-wide and President Roosevelt spoke from Hyde Park.  He told the nation of listeners:

“There was something infectious about his humor.  His appeal went straight to the heart of the nation.  Above all things, in a time grown too solemn and sober, he brought his countrymen back to a sense of proportion “

When Will’s daughter Mary pulled the string unveiling the eight and a half foot statue, “there was a moment of hushed awe.  The light fell on the statue just right.  Mrs. Rogers, overcome, broke down and wept.”  [Between …, p. 300.] 

DC Capitol Assault? by “Trump-it-eers!” ~~ What Would Will Rogers Say about January 6, 2021 ?

 

 1939 ~ STARTING AGAIN ~ Walt Whitman walks the Woods 

One day Averell Harriman visited Jo in his Paris studio and admired his sketch for a Walt Whitman statue.  When Jo lamented that the NY Park Commission refused to place it in three different parks, Averell suggested a home for it in Bear Mountain Park.  He invited Jo to his home to view the park for possible sites.

The park had been part of the Harriman property in Arden, NY.  His mother had designated 10,000 acres adjoining Bear Mountain as a public park.  Averell wanted a statue of Whitman to commemorate his mother’s gift.  Jo’s idea of Whitman fit the family’s plans for a commemorative.

Jo returned to New York in the autumn visiting Harriman for the Thanksgiving holidays.  He had immersed himself in Walt Whitman and found that the poet had actually roamed through those same hills.  Jo tramped along the wooded Appalachian Trail finding a long graceful rock formation large enough to support a bronze statue.  He determined with enlarged photostats of his sketch that an eight and a half foot statue would command the rock face as a convincing figure to be found walking in the woods.

Jo Davidson worked off and on for several years on the Walt Whitman figure.  In 1939 it was cast and displayed at the New York World’s Fair before finding a final dedication and home on Bear Mountain.

 RECASTING:  Jo had had so many disappointments that never expected the statue to emerge beyond his sketch. But it did!  Matter of fact, in 1957, six years after Jo Davidson’s death, the Fairmont Park Art Association of Philadelphia placed another casting of the statue on Broad Street near the entrance to the Walt Whitman Bridge.  

Davidson described his satisfaction in this period of his life in these words:

“THERE IS NO GREATER HAPPINESS THAN WORKING ON SOMETHING THAT ONE VERY MUCH WANTS  TO DO.”

 


 THE ‘WORK OF ART’ ~ the RECOVERING THE PASSION

The passion of Jo Davidson’s life was  sculpting.   One day when he and his friend six-foot-three friend, Charlie, (Charles W. Ervin) with a “booming voice” were in the Jo’s studio having lunch:

“I got an itch to do a bust of that booming voice.  The bust seemed to do itself I think that André Gide’s definition of a work of art applied in this case: “A collaboration between the subconscious, which is God’s part, and the artist; and the less the artist interferes, the greater the work of art.”  This has happened to me several times in my life as a sculptor.  … if I can hear the sitter’s voice, I know that the bust is good.  

Jo had a very spacious studio in the Beaux Arts building.  He he was happy there especially as people could and would drop by; he needed people around.  It was a busy studio where Jo completed one sitting with another.  Among others he did:

David Sarnoff – President of National Broadcasting Company who championed the development of broadcast communications in radio and television.

Edward MacCarten – Sculptor and Jo’s old friend from Art Students League and another of Hermon MacNeil’s student who gave him the following advise:“One day he said, “Jo, here’s an idea. When you come here tomorrow go to work as if this is your last day on earth and you have to finish your statue before you die.” This struck home. The next day I went to work with new energy.  I didn’t die that night, nor did I finish the “David” that day. But as I look back, MacCarten’s advise was one of the greatest contributions that I ever received from a fellow artist.”

They met up again when Jo came to Paris to study Beaux Arts with  no Scholarship, no support, and $40 in his pocket during Jo’s adventuring and searching years. 

Sinclair Lewis – American writer and playwright.  First writer from the United States  to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature

A BRIEF REPRISE of old love ~~ One day into that busy studio walked another former sculptor from days at the Art Student League:

“When I finished (Sinclair) Lewis’ bust, Florence Lucius was in my studio and we were talking about portraiture.  She reminded me of John Sargent’s definition of a portrait, ‘a picture of somebody with something the matter with the mouth.’  Some ten minutes later Dorothy Thompson came in to look at her husband’s bust.  She gave one glance, turned to me and said, “It’s very good but there is something the matter with the mouth.'”   [Between …, p303.]

A passing moment of shared irony ?  …

with a  briefly re-discovered old friend ?  …

but MAYBE it was more…  ?   ?    ?

MORE PLASTIC HISTORY – THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR   In the summer and fall of 1938 modeled portraits of Spanish Loyalists of the Civil War.  The results were exhibited in the Arden Gallery in New York City and published as: Jo Davidson: Spanish Portraits. New York: The Georgian Press, Inc., 1938.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 FLORENCE “Flossie” LUCIUS  ~ OLD LOVE REKINDLES 

After many years of rumblings, World War II began 1939.   Jo turned over his farm and home in Bécheron to the Vichy government to house various attachés.  So in 1940 he returned to the United States.  Jo states that he “was still at loose ends, restless and haunted by a vague sense of dissatisfaction.  There was no real reason for this complicated business of living”  Jo’s passion for sculpting was interrupted.

Into Jo Davidson’s global and personal malaise walked an old flame he had fallen hard for three decades earlier — “Flossie” Florence Lucius

“Then one day, I found my old love of the Art Students League days, Florence Lucius.  I hadn’t seen her for several years.  … With Flossie around, life began to take on a new meaning and the studio began bubbling with life and buzzing with people.

Jo and Flossie visited friends in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and while driving around Jo saw a farm for sale that reminded him of Bécheron.  Jo asked his architect friend Burral Hoffman to look it over as a possible home and studio.  

HEART CRISIS !   Although Jo had rediscovered the love of his young heart, at fifty-seven years his own heart was showing signs of hard-working wear.  Out at dinner with friends … I felt an excruciating pain in my left arm, and the next day, I was in the hospital with a heart attack.  I spent six weeks in the hospital.”

Burrell Hoffman came to see him with the proposal of sketches showing how the barn of the Bucks County farm could be converted into a wonderful studio space.  Jo was delighted with the plans and future studio, his American Bécheron.  At discharge the doctor ordered complete rest and no worries so Jo and Florence went to the Virgin Islands staying for two blissful months. Until one evening a Jimmy Sheean, (a fresh-faced and insolent radio announcer who brought home the war to American listeners) began “reporting the bombing of a Red Cross train in France by the Germans.  Other voices told of roads filled with refugees.  In the peace and quiet of this beautiful night in St. Thomas the news was appalling.  I packed my bags and returned to New York.”

The words “roads filled with refugees” had to trigger Jo’s memories of similar scenes he witnessed in 1914 while covering WW I first-hand from Belgium.  He went from “refugee stories” to his new American Bécheron in Bucks County.  The new studio and home now renamed “Stone Court Farm” was now ready for the new couple.

SCULPTING AGAIN ~ Roosevelt’s 3rd

Characteristically, Jo very quickly got his first sculpting job.  In a phone call he was asked to do the third inaugural medal for President Roosevelt  This was a rush job with just days to complete.   Sent a photograph to work from, Jo became frustrated.  Jo sculpted from life not antique photographs.  He just couldn’t properly do a bas-relief this way.  So, he made his own phone call, flew to Washington and the 32nd President posed for two sittings.  Rush mission accomplished!

SOUTH AMERICAN JOURNEY ~ Good Will Ambassador

Florence Lucius Davidson

On evening visiting with friends Jo met John Abbott who worked for Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.   The agency’s mission was to promote inter-American cooperation (Pan-Americanism) especially in commercial, cultural and economic areas thus strengthening U. S. ties with South American Nations.  The idea was conceived that night for Jo to travel as a Good Will Ambassador making busts of Presidents of South American Republics. The idea quickly became an official mission to create busts of ten presidents.

Needing an Assistant, Jo turned to Flossie, a sculptor herself.  Jo also wanted her to marry him which they did after arriving in Venezuela.  They had known each other since days as art students.  It had been puppy love back then now both those old feelings came right back and their need for each other at this point in life’s journey brought a new sense of happiness that they both needed and deserved.  So now Florence Lucius became Florence Lucius Davidson, and Jo added another portrait bust to his growing collection.  

On the six month mission to South America, Jo had to travel by flying. “From country to country — Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, and others — he flew, modeling the presidents he met in clay, casting them in bronze on his return to the United States.  There, they were exhibited in the National Gallery of Arts in Washington.  Later, they were given to the various countries as a gift from the United States.” 5.

Writing to Flossie about Jo, Van Wyck Brooks once stated, He’s an entire United Nations in his own way.”  On this Good Will Ambassador tour that could not have been more true.

Back home again.  There soon followed portrait busts of Henry Wallace, Vice President of the United States; Ernie Pyle, reporter and war correspondent; Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, and Van Wyck Brooks, biographer, literary critic, and historian.

 THIRTY YEARS AND HUNDREDS OF SCULPTURES 

In the thirty years (1920-1949) Jo Davidson would go on to travel the world making hundreds of portrait busts and figures.  Some on commission, but many just because he was asked or he just wanted to.  Looking around his studio one day, He said he realized that he was the World’s Largest Collector of “Jo Davidson” busts.

Jo Davidson with Busts of 8 Presidents that he completed.

Jo continued his constant pace of sittings for portrait bust —  just a few of those “sitters” included:

Clarence Darrow 1929, Charlie Chaplin 1925, Lincoln Steffens 1920, Robert M. La Follette 1923, W. Averell Harriman 1935, Franklin Roosevelt 1933, 1951, Fiorello LaGuardia (1934), Andrew Mellon (1927), Andrew Furuseth (1929) Mother Jones (1922), Carl Sandburg 1931, Ignace Paderewski (1920), Will Rogers (1935-38), Mahatma Gandhi (1931), Albert Einstein (1934). Arthur Conan Doyle, Israel Zangwill, Albert Einstein 1937, Emma Goldman, Frank Harris, Hellen Keller 1942, John D. Rockefeller 1924, Dolores Ibárruri, Franklin Roosevelt 1934, 1951, Henry A. Wallace, Walt Whitman, , Dwight D. Eisenhower 1948,  H. G. Wells, Gertrude Stein 1923, Josip Tito, Carl Sandburg 1939, Edward Willis Scripps 1922, George Bernard Shaw 1931,  Mahatma Gandhi, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, D. H. Lawrence, Henry LuceJames Barrie, Joseph Conrad, Charles G. Dawes, Will Rogers 1935-38, Anatole France, André Gide, Robinson Jeffers 1930, John Marin and Ida Rubinstein.  1

That tactile process of wordless communication accelerated “the portrait sculptor within.” And his fame kept preceding him as he assembled a PLASTIC HISTORY OF HIS TIMES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jo Davidson as AMATEUR POLITICIAN 

~ ROOTING FOR ROOSEVELT ~

Jo Davidson ~ Political Sculptor

TIME Sept. 9, 1946. Jo Davidson Featured

TIME Sept. 9, 1946. Jo Davidson Featured

TIME magazine put Jo Davidson’s face on the cover in September, 1946.  The cover lampoon and story inside form a satirical and rather pejorative piece about Jo’s later activities in the political spotlight after FDR’s death in April 1945. 

The cover featured a cartoon figure speaking words “Vote For…” into a microphone.  The figure was a collage of a palette board face, a violin torso, paint brush legs, sculptors tools arms, standing on three books and a soap-box. 

Jo was famous, loved people, circulated in an extensive network of the wealthy and famous including Hollywood. Davidson had become a political activist and was reluctantly elected chairman of the Independent Citizens Committee of Artists, Scientists, and Professionals (ICCASP), a group that supported the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt but now FDR was gone.

Originally formed as the Independent Voters Committee of the Arts and Sciences for Roosevelt, its organizational meeting was held in Jo’s studio (the only room big enough to hold a crowd).  Jo was elected chairman because he was the host that everybody knew.  This progressive collage included Actors, Musicians, Entertainers, Authors, Poets, Artists, Painters, Political activists, Scientists.  Their mission was to illuminate the 1944 re-election campaign of President Roosevelt by shining the star-power this distinguished collection of public faces and names behind an ongoing Roosevelt agenda.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (L), talking to the Independent Voters Committee (L to R) Van Wyck Brooks, Hanna Dornen, Jo Davidson, Jan Jiepung, Joseph Cotton, Dorothy Gish, Dir. Harlow Shapely and James Proctor. (Photo by George Skadding/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Jo reports that when the group went to call on the President, he jokingly asked Jo, have they called you a Communist yet?” They hadn’t, but Jo didn’t have long to wait. The TIME story suggests that the group had picked up a few Communists, like the fleas on a dog.  Jo Davidson suggested to the reporter that “its Communists have no more to do with its course that fleas do with a dog’s.”   To the question of Communist influence, Jo Davidson replied: “Have you stopped beating your wife.”

After Roosevelt’s death and President Harry Truman succeeding him into the office, the group had to refocus in Post World War II America.  An opponent of the Cold War policies of Harry S. Truman, he joined the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). Other members included Rexford Tugwell, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, Arthur Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Hellen Keller, Thomas Mann, Aaron Copland, Claude Pepper, Eugene O’Neill, Glen H. Taylor, John Abt, Edna Ferber, Thornton Wilder, Carl Van Doren, Fredric March and Gene Kelly.

Davidson supported Henry A. Wallace in the 1948 Presidential Election. Wallace’s running-mate was Glen H. Taylor, the left-wing senator for Idaho. A group of conservatives, including Henry Luce, Clare Booth Luce, Adolf Berle, Lawrence Spivak and Hans von Kaltenborn, sent a cable to Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, that the PCA were only “a small minority of Communists, fellow-travelers and what we call here totalitarian liberals.” Winston Churchill agreed and described Wallace and his followers as “crypto-Communists”.

   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

“No one ever met Jo and then forgot him. Wherever he was, his vibrant personality pervaded. He was tremendously gifted for the work he did. He was intelligent, incisive, witty, a marvelous raconteur. His enthusiasm was endless. He hated everything mean or intolerant.”
– Harry Rosin –  Bucks County Sculptor and neighbor         https://bucksco.michenerartmuseum.org/artists/jo-davidson

   ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

 


Jo Davidson Sculptures [partial list of hotlinks]:

 

SOURCES for Davidson material:

  1. Spartacus Educational: Jo Davidson.   © John Simkin, May 2013.  FOUND AT: https://spartacus-educational.com/Ajo_davidson.htm
  2. TIME, “Political Notes: Glamor Pusses.” VOL. XLVIII, No. 11, September 9, 1946. pp. 23-25.
  3. Connor, Janis and Joel Rosenkranz, photographs by David Finn, Rediscoveries in American Sculpture: Studio Works, 1893 – 1939, University of Texas Press, Austin TX 1989.
  4. Jo Davidson. Between Sittings: An Informal Autobiography of Jo Davidson, New York: Dial Press, 1951.
  5. Lois Harris Kuhn. The World of Jo Davidson, New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudhay, 1958.  p. 153.

 


 

  1.  HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL 
  2. ~ ~ More Monuments ~ 1930 ~ 1940 ~ ~

1930 ~ “The Pilgrim Memorial” ~ Waterbury, CT

ABOUT THE PIONEER MEMORIAL

“The Harrub Pilgrim Memorial was carved out of French granite by Hermon Atkins MacNeil of New York. Charles Harrub, an engineer for the American Brass Company, donated the $100,000 needed for the project to honor his wife and the Pilgrims. Dedicated October 11, 1930. It is now located at the corner of Highland Avenue and Chase Parkway. (Photo by Daniel M. Lynch, Mattatuck Consulting, LLC.” 

This website of tells the history of settling Waterbury CT from 1657 to the American Revolution.  Descendants of early settlers give family genealogy and memorable stories. Source: OFFICIAL WEBSITE of the RIVER-HOPKINS and SAEMANN-NICKEL and Related Families

A second history blog of Waterbury offers additional photos and history of the memorial.  Here’s a photo from dedication day.

“Sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil was commissioned to create the monument. Based in New York City, MacNeil is remembered for having designed the 1917 quarter, as well as for a series of sculptures depicting Native Americans in classically heroic poses.

The Harrub Memorial was completed in 1930 and unveiled at a ceremony held on October 11, 1930. Although it is now located at the top of Chase Park, off Highland Avenue, the monument was originally placed at the bottom of the hill, facing Freight Street.”

 

1930 ~ Judge Thomas Burke Memorial

In Seattle, Washington the Memorial to Judge Thomas Burke exhibits MacNeil’s classic Beaux Arts design and allegorical figures.  Beneath the bronze bas relief of  Burke’s profile, the engraved stone pilaster  reads:  “Patriot, Jurist, Friend, Patron of Education, First of every movement for the advancement of the city and the state, Seattle’s foremost and best beloved Citizen.”

“Burke came to Seattle in 1875 and formed a law partnership with John J. McGilvra; he soon married McGilvra’s daughter Caroline.[2] He established himself as a civic activist: one of his first projects was to raise funds for a planked walkway from roughly the corner of First and Pike (now site of Pike Place Market) through Belltown to Lake Union.[7]

Cartoon of Thomas Burke, railroad man

He served as probate judge 1876-1880[8] and as chief justice of the Washington Territorial Supreme Court in 1888.[3]

“Irish as a clay pipe,”[9] and well liked by early Seattle’s largely Irish working class, as a lawyer Burke was well known for collecting large fees from his wealthy clients and providing free legal services for the poor.  [Source: Thomas Burke (railroad builder)]

 

1931 ~ President James Monroe bust

Monroe-HAM-1931HOF_NYU

US President James Monroe

Exactly 100 years after James Monroes 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. (Washington 1916, Lincoln 1928, McKinley 1906

 

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. 

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).

CHECK OUT THESE LINKS ALSO:

  1. Hall of Fame:  MacNeil has Four busts enshrined there.
  2. MORE: on Monroe

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

1931 ~ HOPI ~~ PRAYER FOR RAIN  ~~ Issue #3

When Hermon MacNeil was asked to make the Third Issue of the new Society of Medalists Series, He chose to revert to his early experiences of 1895 of Native American in the Arizona and New Mexico territory.

 


 

1932 CONFEDERATE DEFENDERS 

~~ Charleston, SC ~~ Ft Sumter Harbor ~~

Grafetti after shooting at Mother Emmanuel Church Charleston 2015

The “Confederate Defenders” designed and sculpted by Hermon A. MacNeil was selected by a committee of Charlestonians from over a dozen proposals of other sculptors. 

Unlike many monuments featuring soldiers, cannons arms, horsed and battles raging, MacNeil’s concept was different.

I like to think that the committee awarded the commission for this design because of its classical Beaux Arts treatment of allegorical symbolism.  In MacNeil communicated — Youth, Athleticism, defense, the shield bearing the Seal of South Carolina, The Athena Goddess of Charleston.

In the 21 Century the Monument has become a “protest site” after shootings in 2015 at a Bible study at Mother Emanuel Church a few blocks north. 

More recently opposing groups such as:  Black Lives Matter and  Flags Across the South. Have protested on the site.

Both groups gathered. Black Lives Matter marchers held their signs along The Battery wall. Across the street at the Confederate Defenders Monument, members of  as Charleston Police stood watch.

Eventually the City Council worked out a compromise schedule of rotating permits for the plaza of the statue area

 

 

1932 U.S. Supreme Court  Building ~ East Pediment

Moses ~ Confucius ~  Salon

 

General Alfred Howe Terry

General John Sedgwick

  1934 ~ Alfred H. Terry ~ Connecticut Capitol Building 

Location:  south elevation.   Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

1934 ~ John Sedgwick ~ Connecticut Capitol Building

Location:  south elevation.   Artist: Hermon MacNeil.

 

 

1936 ~ George Rogers Clark Memorial ~ Hero of the American Revolution

Clark National Monument where MacNeil’s George R. Clark is housed

MacNeil’s Statue of George Rogers Clark is inside the circular dome of the Monument in Vincennes, IN.  CLICK HERE for More

CLICK HERE for the National Park Service’s story of this National Monument (CLICK) 

This beautifully restored dome on the prairie contains Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s heroic statue of George Rogers Clark, a Virginian who saw the importance of the West in the war effort as a whole. He persuaded Virginia’s government (and Governor Thomas Jefferson) to support his efforts; then with 200 men, he crossed the Ohio River to the Mississippi River taking Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and returning to capture Fort Sackville at Vincennes.

The following video by RATIO Architects shows the reconstruction and restoration of The George Rogers Clark Memorial roof and foundations in 2005 after decades of leakage, erosion, corrosion, stalactite formation and water damage to the steps and walkways. (length 6:24 min; Source RATIO Architects )

Thanks RATIO for restoring  this monument of American history and giving us this documentation. Dan Leininger, webmaster of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com

Treaty of Paris, by Benjamin West (1783), depicts the United States delegation at the Treaty of Paris (left to right): John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.

The George Rogers Clark Memorial is on the sight of the British Fort Sackville of 1779. Clark and his 170 frontier men demanded surrender from  British Lt., Governor Henry Hamilton by surprise and deception on Feb 25, 1779. They marshaled troops waving flags and firing rapidly as if they were a larger army.  Clark’s strategies and victories in the West marked the beginning of the end of British domination in America’s western frontier and by the Treaty of Paris (1783) extended the 13 colonies westward to the Mississippi River. 

Re-enactment of Fort Sackville surrender

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

1940 ~ The Pony Express ~ Saint Joseph, MO

Follow the setting Sun

The Legend of the Pony Express is larger than life.  The images of riders carrying pouches (mochilas) of mail from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California, (a 1900 mile route) through 186 Pony Express Stations along the route about 10 miles apart. Riders had to take an oath, must weigh less than 125 pounds, riding both day and night through sun and rain. Riders changed every 75 -100 miles or doubling that in emergencies from April 1860 to September 1961 before the transcontinental telegraph was completed.  

The legend of Hermon MacNeil’s Pony Express statue is told here on 5 different stories linked on this single thread searched with “Pony Express”.  (including Poncho Villa) MacNeil’s legendary statue includes:

  • a black mounted action figure heading West with hair and bandana streaming,
  • Four mochilas (pouches) for mail,
  • a pistol on his hip,
  • a Sun carved on the south side of the base symbolizing daytime and the Moon on the north side for night.
  • The legend of “Poncho Villa” the wild Dakota range horse that MacNeil modeled for the muscular steed running to the sun.

Poncho Villa was an ‘outlaw’ horse tamed by Dr. S. Meredith Strong, a physician and horse lover who was the National President of the American Rough Riders Association, a group devoted to the preservation of the wild mustangs. He traveled thousands of miles as a lover-of-horse-flesh seeking to preserve this western heritage. He and MacNeil must have had some interesting conversations.  (The newspaper photo shows Hermon MacNeil seated on the statue).

Neither rain, sleet, snow or dark of night shall keep the rider from his appointed journey.  Burr!

HOTLINKS TO 1930-1940 Statues and Monuments by Hermon A. MacNeil

 

 

Related Images:

Categories : Location
Comments (0)

2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – OBVERSE (Photo Credit The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

Hermon MacNeil’s first concept for the new Liberty Standing Quarter dollar looked a good bit different than what we are familiar with. 

A recent minting of his first design has come onto the silver coin market.  It bears some surprises.

The late Jay Cline spent an entire lifetime and career dealing Standing Liberty Quarters.  In his book, Cline introduces the coin with the following words:

THE YEAR 1915

At the request of President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, the coinage of the U.S. in 1915 was about to change. For the first time in history the quarter would be different from the dime and the half-dollar.

There were three new coins to make their debut in 1916. The new winged Mercury dime, the Walking Liberty Half — these two having been designed by A. Weinman — and the Standing Liberty quarter designed by Hermon A. MacNeil.  A renaissance of interest in United States silver coins was beginning

WEBMASTER photo of 2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – Reverse (Coin purchased from The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

WEBMASTER photo of 2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – OBVERSE (Coin purchased from The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

2019 Minting of MacNeil’s first design of SLQ – REVERSE (Photo Credit The Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.)

For over a century the Standing Liberty Quarter has remained a collectible issue of Teddy Roosevelt’s Renaissance of American Coinage

The following article by Tom LaMarre in Coin Magazine summarizes the polulafrity of this Lady Liberty by Mr MacNeil:

MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite

By Tom LaMarre, Coins Magazine
September 30, 2009

Hermon A. MacNeil created some memorable works, including the statues “The Sun Vow” and “Pony Express.” But coin collectors consider his real masterpiece to be the Standing Liberty quarter.

Rich in symbolism and finely engraved detail, the new quarter reflected the spirit of peace and preparedness just before the United States entered World War I. It also revived a classical style in sharp contrast to the abstract and modern trends that were sweeping the art world at that time.

In addition, the coin signified a different direction for its designer. MacNeil was known mainly for works depicting American Indians and Western pioneers.

Production of Standing Liberty quarters began in 1916. Despite the artistic merit of the design, its life was cut short after only 14 years (none were struck in 1922). Because of wearability and striking problems, and the decision to issue a George Washington commemorative, the last Standing Liberty quarter was minted in 1930.

The series was short, but it produced some memorable rarities, including the 1916 and 1918/7-S Standing Liberty quarters. Almost as interesting as the coins themselves is the story of how they came into existence and inspired a greater awareness of artistic values in the world of coins.

The $2,300 Design

The Barber quarter had been around since 1892, and although it did the job, no one was thrilled with the design. In December 1915, a competition was held to come up with new designs for the dime, quarter and half dollar. MacNeil, Adolph Weinman and Albin Polasek were invited to submit entries.

Each sculptor was promised $300. An additional $2,000 would go to the creator of each model that was accepted for production. The deadline for entries was April 16, 1916.

Polasek was the only loser. Weinman’s entries were selected for the dime and half dollar. MacNeil’s design was chosen for the quarter.

MacNeil reportedly found a rooftop studio in the heart of New York City. There, according to a contemporary account, he could work on his coinage design “high above the dirt and noise of the street.”

MacNeil decided to place a standing Liberty figure on the obverse of the quarter. Initially there was a dolphin on each side of the pedestal below Liberty, representing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Panama Canal had recently opened, and even though the canal had inspired its own commemorative coins in 1915, MacNeil apparently thought a further tribute would be appropriate on the new quarter.

A bronze cast of the obverse with dolphins still exists. Originally intended for the preparation of dies, it turned up at a garage sale in 2001.

MacNeil eventually changed his mind about the dolphins. After the deadline for entries had passed, he requested and received permission to make some changes to the design during the next few weeks. The dolphins, which had been ridiculed by Mint workers, were nowhere to be seen on the revised obverse that appeared on production quarters.

On the reverse of the quarter, MacNeil depicted a low-flying eagle flanked by 13 stars.

The winning entries in the coin design competition were unveiled on May 30, 1916. At that time a press dispatch said that Treasury Secretary William MacAdoo, Mint Director Robert W. Woolley and the Commission of Fine Arts had found them to be “most satisfactory from an artistic point of view.”

Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Mint Director Robert W. Woolley was so involved overseeing the preparation of the quarter design at the Mint that the Gettysburg Times predicted it would be known as the “Woolley quarter” or simply the “Woolley.” In reality, the designer was Hermon Atkins MacNeil, described by The Iowa Recorder as a “sculptor of prominence.”

“The designer of the new quarter is Hermon A. MacNeil, N.A.,” the June 8, 1916, issue of Cornell Magazine, published by Cornell University, reported. “Mr. MacNeil was commissioned recently to execute the statue of Ezra Cornell which is to be unveiled by the University in 1918. He is the sculptor of the memorial bust of Robert Henry Thurston in Sibley College.”

Cornell had reason to be proud of MacNeil. He had taught there, and at the Chicago Art Institute.

MacNeil was born in Massachusetts in 1866. He graduated from the Normal Art School in Boston and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Julian Academy. By the turn of the century, he had returned to the United States and opened his own studio.

MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” was displayed at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition and won a silver medal. It was made at the American Academy in Rome and cast in bronze in Paris. Today it is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

MacNeil designed an award medal for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. It was presented to Victor D. Brenner, who later designed the Lincoln cent. MacNeil also designed a 1926 medal commemorating the tercentenary of the purchase of Manhattan.

For the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, MacNeil created the “Fountain of Liberty.” Other works by the sculptor include “The Moqui Runner,” “A Primitive Chant,” “The Coming of the White Man,” the McKinley Memorial in Columbus and the Marquette Memorial in Chicago.

MacNeil’s work was included in an exhibition held in conjunction with the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, and at a show staged in 1936 in New York City under a Works Progress Administration banner. The WPA was a Depression-era agency that provided employment on federal projects. Many artists and sculptors were commissioned to paint murals or create sculptures for post offices and other government buildings.

MacNeil died in his home on Long Island Sound in 1947. It had been 17 years since the last Standing Liberty quarter was struck. One of MacNeil’s last works was the statue “The Pony Express,” dedicated in 1940 in St. Joseph, Mo.

On the 100th anniversary of MacNeil’s birth, Hermon MacNeil Park was dedicated in College Point, Queens, N.Y. The guest of honor was the woman believed to be the model for the Standing Liberty quarter.

Doris Doscher

She was an actress who starred in “The Birth of a Race” (sometimes shown with the alternate title “The Story of a Great Peace”) in 1918. But when she appeared on the television program “I’ve Got a Secret” in April 1966, her secret was that she was the model for Liberty on the Standing Liberty quarter.

Time magazine also credited Doscher as the model for the coin at the time of her death in March 1970.

Doscher, sometimes going by the name Doris Doree, starred in several silent films. “The Birth of a Race” is the story of two brothers in a German-American family during World War I. One fights for the United States, and the other for Germany. Doscher played Eve, the wife of one of the brothers.

Doscher was also a professional model. She was the model for the “Pulitzer Fountain of Abundance” by Karl Bitter, completed by Isadore Konti and Karl Gruppe in 1915. The fountain represents Pomona, the Roman goddess of orchards, and stands in front of the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Doscher also modeled for “Faith, Hope and Charity,” “Diana of the Chase,” “Memory,” “Kneeling Madonna” and Hermon MacNeil’s “The Angel of Peace.”

Possibly the earliest published reference to Doscher as MacNeil’s model for Liberty on the quarter was an item in the April 8, 1917, issue of The Syracuse Herald.

Doris married Dr. William Baum. She had a radio show on health and beauty and wrote a newspaper column, and she was a guest of honor at the dedication of Hermon MacNeil park.

Doris Doscher Baum, however, was not the only woman to claim the honor of being the model for the Standing Liberty quarter.

Irene MacDowell

Long after MacNeil died, a former Broadway actress and professional model, Irene MacDowell, claimed that she was the model for the Standing Liberty quarter. MacDowell was the wife of MacNeil’s tennis partner. For the sake of everyone concerned, it was thought best to keep her role as model a secret and let Doscher take the credit.

Irene broke the silence in 1972, at the age of 92, recalling that she posed for MacNeil for 10 days, wearing a white, sheet-like drapery that she described as “a kind of classical robe.”

MacDowell was described as statuesque and “handsome.” She frequently posed for MacNeil and reportedly was a model for some of the figures on the “Soldiers and Sailors Monument” in Albany, N.Y.

Patterns

Except for the matter of the dolphins, MacNeil had the quarter dollar design nailed down almost from the beginning. Patterns showing the development of the design are rare. One pattern is nearly the same as the Standing Liberty quarter as issued but lacks MacNeil’s initial on the obverse.

Another pattern has a reverse without stars, the eagle is flying higher and there are laurel branches at the sides. Examples exist with and without the designer’s initial.

Pattern 1916 Standing Liberty quarters are rarer than Walking Liberty half dollar and Mercury dime patterns. In the 1930s, a few 1916 Walking Liberty half dollar patterns were found in circulation. A 1916 Mercury dime pattern was discovered in pocket change in the early 1960s. In the case of the Standing Liberty quarter, however, no such circulation finds have been reported.

1916

The design process was so involved and took so long that you might say Liberty had to crawl before she could stand up and walk. The Standing Liberty quarter was scheduled to be released on July 1, 1916. A New York Times story with a July 2, 1916, dateline jumped the gun and claimed the coin made its debut as planned. In reality, however, the Mint was having trouble preparing the design for production, and another six months would pass before the Standing Liberty quarter went into circulation.

In September 1916, Albert Norris, chief clerk of the Philadelphia Mint, explained that die-makers usually had trouble when designs were prepared by artists who were not familiar with the mechanical requirements of coin production. The problem with the Standing Liberty quarter was that the relief was too high for the design to strike up properly.

Production of Standing Liberty quarters did not begin until Dec. 16, 1916 and was limited to the Philadelphia Mint in the first year of the design. By Dec. 31, 1916, only 52,000 had been struck. They were released in early January 1917.

Soon Philadelphia coin dealer Henry Chapman was offering 1916 Standing Liberty quarters for a dollar apiece. Speculation was widespread, and the Treasury Department responded with a January 1917 release of the mintage figure (incorrectly stated as 62,000 instead of 52,000). A press dispatch said the statement was being issued “to correct any impression that the coins are rare” and to thwart the “sharpers.”

An original roll of 1916 Standing Liberty quarters was available as late as the 1950s. Today it’s a different story. A Mint State-60 example is valued at $16,500.

Peace and Preparedness

Possibly more than any other coin, the Standing Liberty quarter succeeded in capturing the spirit of its time. With World War I raging in Europe and a presidential election campaign stirring things up at home, themes of peace and preparedness were on everyone’s mind.

According to the official description of the Standing Liberty quarter, the design was “intended to typify in a measure the awakening interest of the country to its own protection.” Liberty was depicted stepping forward to the gateway of the country. In her raised left arm was a shield from which the covering was being drawn, symbolizing the nation’s readiness to defend itself. In her right hand was an olive branch representing the desire for peace.

As the New York Times put it, the new quarter symbolized “America Awake.” Another writer, however, saw in the design “some too darkly veiled allegory of the Woman’s Party and the suffrage movement.”

The Standing Liberty quarter had a sculptural quality that set it apart from all previous quarter dollars. The Numismatist described it as “strikingly beautiful.” The New York Times called it a “silvern beauty.”

The Mansfield (Ohio) News said the Standing Liberty quarter was “fair to look upon,” but claimed the design should have been used on a medal instead of a coin, which it described as a “dirt collector.”

Changes

Legend has it that there was a public outcry against Liberty’s exposed right breast on the Standing Liberty quarter. But if this were the case, it doesn’t seem to have been mentioned in newspapers of the day.

MacNeil himself was dissatisfied with the original design and told a friend he was making a stand for changes. Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo and Rep. William Ashbrook of Ohio, who also happened to be a member of the American Numismatic Association, lobbied for the passage of legislation. Public Law 27 of July 9, 1917, made the changes to the Standing Liberty quarter official.

In addition to adding a covering of mail to Liberty, what was perceived to be her “bowlegged” appearance was eliminated, her head was lowered, the covering of the shield was pulled tighter, and the border was made less ornate.

On the reverse, the eagle was repositioned so that it was flying higher, and the arrangement of stars was changed, with three stars placed below the eagle.

Two bronze casts of the revised reverse were made. One of them, which surfaced several years ago, may have been kept by MacNeil as a back-up. The other bronze cast, measuring more than six inches in diameter, is in the Smithsonian.

McAdoo approved the revised Standing Liberty quarter design on Aug. 19, 1917. A prominent numismatist, Farran Zerbe, reported that the eagle was higher on the modified design, the features of the Liberty head were stronger, and Liberty’s “undraped bust” had been given a “corsage of mail.”

Collectors classify Standing Liberty quarters of the original design as Variety 1, and the revised version as Variety 2.

A Valuable Mistake

The Philadelphia Mint was a busy place in the autumn of 1917. Workers were making dies for 1917-dated coins to keep up with heavy demand. At the same time, they were preparing 1918-dated dies for the coming year.

Each die required several blows from a hub. By mistake, an obverse quarter dollar die received an impression from a 1917 hub and was sent to the annealing room to be hardened. When it was returned to the die room for additional impressions, it went to the wrong machine and was stamped with a 1918-dated hub. The finished die somehow slipped by the inspector and was sent to the San Francisco Mint, where it was used to strike a small number of 1918/7-S quarters.

The first example of the overdate wasn’t reported until the 1930s. At first, collectors thought it was the result of wartime cost-cutting at the Mint and that a 1917 die had been restamped with an “8” so it could be used another year.

Most of the rare quarters had seen years of use before the variety was publicized. As a result, mint-state examples of the 1918/7-S are rare.

Protecting the Date

Early Standing Liberty quarters are harder to find than later issues because the date, often weakly struck to begin with, quickly wore away in circulation. In 1925 a depression was made in Liberty’s pedestal to protect the date from friction. The revision was not entirely successful, but occasional Standing Liberty quarters with the date still visible could be found in pocket change as late as the mid-1960s.

Bad Luck

In its own time, the Standing Liberty quarter was considered an unlucky coin. There are 13 stars at the sides of the gateway through which Liberty is passing, 13 stars around the border on the reverse side of the coin, 13 letters in the inscription “QUARTER DOLLAR” and 13 letters in “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”

A Wading Bird

An early newspaper item really stretched things when it said the eagle on the reverse of the Standing Liberty quarter was the same as on the Great Seal, but without the shield. The writer might just as well have said that Liberty was the same as on the Barber quarter, but she was shown standing.

The truth was that the eagle on the Standing Liberty quarter was unlike the bird on any other U.S. coin, and that difference caused some problems.

In 1928, a letter to the editor of the New York Times claimed the eagle on the quarter had the feet of a wading bird and was depicted in the act of taking off instead of in full flight. To put it bluntly, the eagle had the feet of a duck.

MacNeil was not amused. He responded with a letter defending the design, but it didn’t make much difference. Because of other factors, the Standing Liberty quarter would only be struck two more years.

Mystery of the 1931 Quarter

Quarters were struck only at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints in 1930. No quarters were struck for circulation in 1931, a Depression year. But counterfeits may exist.

In August 1931, Secret Service agents smashed a counterfeiting ring that had been making and passing fake quarters in Pennsylvania towns for eight months. They were cast from molds in the basement of the home of Anna Kasemar and her teenage daughter Margaret.

The same year, two men were sent to the Atlanta penitentiary for possessing counterfeit quarters. At least one arrest for counterfeiting quarters was also made in New York City in 1931. Some of the counterfeits might have survived and may be the basis for the long-running rumor of a 1931-dated Standing Liberty quarter.

Replacement

In 1931 a design competition was announced for a coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. At first a Washington half dollar seemed likely, but government officials instead decided on a Washington quarter.

In February 1931, the Christian Science Monitor reported that the head of George Washington may appear on the quarter in 1932. The first Washington quarters were released in August 1932. No one was sure whether the Washington quarter would be a one-year commemorative or an ongoing regular issue. The Numismatist predicted that if the design were popular, it would remain in production.

Because of the Depression, no quarters were struck in 1933. When production resumed in 1934, the Washington design returned.

Once hailed as a “silvern beauty,” the Standing Liberty quarter slipped away quietly. As the New York Times put it, Liberty was a loser on new coin designs picturing presidents, and the Standing Liberty which had adorned the quarter since 1916 was on its way out.

MacNeil intended the Standing Liberty quarter to be a symbol of wartime sentiment. According to the Treasury secretary, it was a “fast-wearing” design that never quite worked out. In the opinion of collectors, it is a masterpiece that will stand in beauty forever.

 

HAM-SLQ-BronzeMaster

Related Images:

See a “Pony Express” in miniature below

Saint Joseph, Missouri was the starting point for the Pony Express.
From April 1860 to October 1861, the Pony Express delivered mail westward to Sacramento California.

The Pony Express

More than 1,800 miles in 10 days! From St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California the Pony Express could deliver a letter faster than ever before.
In operation for only 18 months between April 1860 and October 1861, the Pony Express nevertheless has become synonymous with the Old West. In the era before electronic communication, the Pony Express was the thread that tied East to West.

SOURCE: [ https://www.nps.gov/poex/learn/historyculture/index.htm ] as of June 8, 2019

MacNeil’s “The Pony Express” at Saint Joseph, Missouri

Today, Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s last public monument, sculpted in 1940, commemorates that brief history of westward expansion.

A blackened bronze Pony Express rider with a bandanna over his face heads west over the dusty trail to the next station. What awaits him there will be another fast pony ready for the rider and his bag of mail to hop into the saddle. Thus, the next leg of the continuous trek across the prairies, rivers, plains, foothills and mountainside goes westward.

A bronze miniature of this sculpture has been obtained recently.  The piece was originally cast in 1940 by the Jennings Brothers Manufacturing Company of Bridgeport, Conn. The seller notes: 

Replica miniature Statue copyrighted by HAMN in 1940.

Never cleaned in original condition. No damage or repairs, Never molested never used as a book end!!! the statue is approx 5 1/2″ in width and approx 6″ in height.

Tag on bottom of the statuette identifies it.

 
The seller comments:

“I am offering an unmolested example of a reproduction of the Pony Express rider of an exact copy  of the statue  erected in  St. Josephs  MO. 

This  single statue was given to “Nora Finch ”  Office manager to the owner of Loges department store NYC  April 20 th  1940.  Upon her retirement.  Original tag on bottom.  felt is also original.  This is as original as one could find.  Not many of these around.   Design and copyright by  Hermon A. MacNeil   “C”  H.A.M.N.  JB  on the front where the “Pony Express”  located… Good luck   USA  sales only”
 
 

Related Images:

I never met Hermon MacNeil.

I never met my maternal grandfather, Tom Henry McNeil.  

ALL OF LIFE and our family histories are filled with people we HAVE NEVER MET.

In 2014 I wrote an article for the MacNeil Clan Magazine,

The Galley.

I include the the pages and the text of that article below in this post:

The photos can also be viewed in this previous post. 

Hermon Atkins MacNeil – American Sculptor – (1866-1947)

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 was formed ninety-three years ago. 

MacNeil kinsman.

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.

Dan “Neil” Leininger in a MacNeil kilt at Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra, Scotland 2014. WHAT A TOUR it was!!!

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.

MacNeil roots. The third MacNeil man that I never met was my own grandfather, Tom Henry McNeil (1860-1932). Whenever my mother spoke of her father or of her “Uncle Hermon,” I would see a certain smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye.  Emotionally, recalling her McNeil memories seemed to take her to “a very pleasant place.” On the MacNeil family tree, her father and Hermon MacNeil were first cousins. But “Uncle Hermon” was what the whole family always called him and what he always considered himself to be. Though she did not share them often, my mother’s stories instilled in me a sense of “wonder” about these two “MacNeil” men. 

Genetically, my mother gave all of us six children her MacNeil biology, but when I first realized that my parents also gave me the middle name of “Neil,” I felt some extra portion of my Scottish ancestry. That feeling has only grown as I get older.  My grandfather McNeil died before I was born.  I was just two years old when Hermon MacNeil died.  Now as an old man myself this MacNeil heritage and my memories of the sparkle in mother’s eyes have expanded my interest in these three MacNeils, and in the many other MacNeils that I have yet to meet.

MacNeil pursuits. So I am pursuing my MacNeil Clan interests in several ways.  In 2010 I formally began searching for “Uncle Hermon” by building a “digital gallery” of the life and work as a sculptor. I built HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com, a website dedicated to making his sculpture and career available to the world. A web search of the name “Hermon MacNeil” will take you there.  His sculptures, statues, monuments are scattered from Washington, DC to Portland, Oregon, and from New York City to Gallup, New Mexico.  Now this virtual gallery features over 500 photos and 125 stories of Hermon MacNeil’s life and work.  There you can see 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.

In 2013 I became a member of 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.  For the last three yearsI have shared “MacNeil stories” at our annual family reunion of my siblings and our children and grand children.  In August 2013 I went to my first Highland Festival. My nephew in Colorado  told me about the attended the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Fest in Estes Park.  What a great celebration of Celtic pride and heritage.

Donna and I have booked our spots on the 2014 MacNeil Clan Tour of Scotland.  We reserved our passage before I received the Fall/Winter issue of The Galley with Rory MacNeil’s invitation to the World Gathering of the Clan MacNeil on the Isle of Barra from August 4-7, 2014.  We hope to meet some of you there this summer.

  1. I joined Clan MacNeil Association I have attended the 2013 Estes Park Highland Fest
  2. I have booked spots for Donna and I on the 2014 MacNeil Clan Tour of Scotland
  3. I continue to research HAM

Related Images:

TODAY marks the  153rd anniversary of the birth

of Hermon Atkins MacNeil

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative sketched by Artist Charles D. Daughtrey as the seventh work in his Series of Coin Designers is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

AND THE 10th Year of my Search for “Uncle Hermon”
for whom this website is dedicated.

For a brief summary of his life and work click here for => A Brief Bio of Hermon Atkins MacNeil 

This website also is inspired by the memory of my mother, Ollie McNeil Leininger.

I remember my mother telling me about her “Uncle Hermon.” 

She handed me some Liberty Standing Quarters”  from her grocery change and showed me the little “M” at the left foot of Lady Liberty.

She showed me “The Sun Vow” statue in the Saint Louis Art Museum.  We also visited The Pony Express” statue in St. Joseph, Missouri.  I grew up with a sense of pride and quiet fascination with mom’s “Uncle Hermon” 

I never met “Uncle Hermon”

Hermon A. MacNeil died on October 2, 1947 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 8 days.  On the day that he died I was just two years-old.

To read the whole article, Click and open in a separate window

My own Mother died years later in the winter of 1985. At that time, I wrote:

With her passing a warm, safe feeling faded from my world. I was the “baby” of her six children. Her death ushered in feelings of being a midlife orphan who would soon turn forty. Darkness seemed to creep in from the far corners of my life. A strange fearful child inside of me said, “Who will take care of me now?”

 

As the years passed, I would think of mom, and occasionally, of her “Uncle Hermon.”

By the turn of the 2K millennium, computers and the internet had become household items.  This allowed people to hunt, find, and save data.  I found fascinating stories about Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Virtually anything from anywhere could be researched. 

In 2010, I met Dan DeBlock. He is a retired Army Chaplain and Lutheran Minister who builds websites for churches.  It started as a hobby interest and became Leiturgia Communications, Inc. The Host and Tech Support for this website.

One day I asked Dan DeBlock, “Could a website be built as virtual gallery of the sculpture of Hermon Atkins MacNeil?”

Nine years and 170 stories later, “HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com” is the answer to my question and Dan’s hosting.

In that year (2010), I seriously began my “Searching for Uncle Hermon.”

That journey continues.  This is story # 171 – A Birthday Present for Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School.

 

Related Images:

photo 1

Dan Leininger holds the “Galley” for Summer 2014 with MacNeil’s “Pony Express” statue on the cover and an 8 page feature story inside.

“Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil”

The current issue of the Clan MacNeil Association of America magazine has a feature story on Hermon Atkins MacNeil by webmaster, Dan Leininger

The Galley edited by Vicki Sanders Corporon titles Dan’s story as “Clan MacNeil Connections and Hermon Atkins MacNeil.” The feature and photos fill 8 pages in the “Galley” issue for Spring/Summer 2014.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.

Ezra Cornell statue at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY was dedicated in 1918 after WWI.  Page 19 of the “Galley” (This Photo from Cornell University is Courtesy of Chris Carlsen).

 

 

Page 20 of  “Galley” for Summer 2014

Page 20 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

The featured photos include the East Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. (with a detail close-up of Moses, Confucius, and Salon); The George Rogers Clark monument in Vincennes, IN at the site of his victory over the British in 1779; Confederate Defenders of Charleston, SC; the Young Lawyer Abraham Lincoln in Champaign, IL; General George Washington on the Washington Arch, NYC, NY. Also in this article are photos of the grouping Coming of the White Man in Portland, OR; The WWI Angel of Peace Monument in Flushing NY; and a bust of Dwight L. Moody (who MacNeil sketched during the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.

photo 2

Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

Related Images:

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch - Chicago-Sun

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch – The Sun (New York City)

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.

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

Hermon A. MacNeil Commemorative by Artist C. Daughtrey is available at http://www.cdaughtrey.com/

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.

Related Images:

"Medal Maker" VHS of 1929 with remake in 1997

The screen capture (below) shows a frame from the 1929 silent movie “The Medal Maker.”     This photo frame shows four presidents of the National Sculpture Society who were also “Medal Makers” presenting the NSS‘s ‘Special Award Medal’ to Daniel Chester French (center).  French (1850-1931) died just 2 years after this video was made.  The making of the Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser is told in “The Medal Maker” (see cover at right).

Three of these sculptors (Fraser, Weinman and MacNeil) had already redesigned US Coinage.  They created the Buffalo Nickel (JEF), the Liberty [Mercury] Dime & Walking Liberty Half-Dollar (AAW), and the Standing Liberty Quarter (HAM). 

Below are Society of Medalists creations and stories from each sculptor on some of their medal making. (The SOM medal images below are from the collection of the webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger.)

This screen capture shows the video playing on this website as posted on Sept 26, 2011 

Laura Garden Frazer and James Earle Frazer were both sculptors.(http://www.nysmhs.org/history/LauraGardinFraser/index.htm)

All five sculptors contributed to the “Society of Medalists” series of the Medallic Arts Company started in 1930, one year after this video was made.  Laura Gardin Fraser, the maker of the NSS Special Award Medal, is the fifth medal maker featured here. She also sculpted the SOM#1, First Issue of the entire SOM series.  Her NSS Award Medal (100mm or 4 inches) is featured below also.

  • James Earl Fraser (1876-1953) ~ SOM #45 “The Pony Express” and “New Frontiers” 1952″ James Earle Fraser was the husband of Laura Gardin Fraser and 13 years her senior.  He chose historic images of the west, namely, the “Pony Express” and the oxen-drawn “Covered Wagon.”  He stated that the Covered Wagon was a childhood image that he remembered from his childhood in South Dakota and Minnesota.

James Earle Fraser's "Pony Express" and "New Frontier"

  • Adolph Alex Weinman (1870-1952). ~ SOM#39 ~ 1949 ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny.” Weinman  offers the following  description of his inspiration for this piece:
  • “… for ‘Genesis’, look up chapter one in your Bible, I could not say it nearly as well. As to the ‘Web of Destiny’, that should be easily interpreted. The little fellow is Eros, who can perform more miracles in guiding the strands of destiny than any power known to man.”  (J.E.F. -SOM #39)
Adolph Alex Weinman ~ “Genesis” and “Web of Destiny” SOM #39 ~ 1949
Obverse:  Male nude figure to l. in seated in fetal pose holding hammer and chise, imposed on Pegasus to l.: Mute.
Reverse:   Flame.: NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY/ SPECIAL — MEDAL/ OF — HONOR
Measurements: 100 mm / 4 inches
  • Laura Gardin Fraser's NSS Award Medal presented to Daniel Chester French. The sculptor with mallet and chisel in hands, rests in slumberous thought as Pegasus rises to to seek messages from the gods. This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

  • NSS Special Award Medal by Laura Gardin Fraser ~ 1929 (obv). This is the Medal that Fraser was sculpting in the "Medal Maker" silent film of 1929, later made into a narrated video in 1997. (From the Collection of Daniel Neil Leininger, webmaster)

 

  •  Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947) – “Hopi” and “Prayer for Rain” SOM #31 ~ 1931.   Based on MacNeil’s “Moqui (Hopi) Runner” of 1897, this was the only SOM medal that he would sculpt.
  • For his lengthy explanation of the theme he chose, see this website:  “Medals4Trade”
  • MacNeil’s brief intro to the medal is as follows: “The two incidents of the Hopi Prayer for Rain on the mesas of northeastern Arizona depicted on this medal are chosen by your sculptor because of the extraordinary vital enthusiasm and power that the Indians throw into this ceremony. Having witnessed it and been thrilled by the intensity of their emotion and on further study by the complicated and perfectly natural development of this drama, I cannot help feel that in it we find a basic note underlying all religions. All these Southwest Indians, living as they do in an arid region, have developed their religion along the lines of their greatest need –water.”

Hermon MacNeil's "Prayer for Rain" was based on his statue "The Moqui Runner"

Four examples of various finish patinas medals that MacNeil selected for SOM#3 in 1931 (from collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)

Reverse of SOM#3 by Hermon MacNeil (collection of Dan Leininger, webmaster)
  • Herbert Adams (1858-1945)~ SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner 1934
  • “Oh What Are the Prizes We Perish to Win” (on obverse), “To the First Little Shiner We Caught with a Pin” (on reverse).     Numbers Issued: 1,207 Bronze, 100 Silver.
  • The words that Adams placed on the medal are translation of the two lines from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, “Song of a Piece of Eight”, ~ He made the medal eight-sided (as a piece-of-eight) reminiscent of the pirate poem “Oh what are the prizes we perish to win. To the first little ‘shiner’ we caught with a pin.”

  • Herbert Adams SOM #009 ~ The Prize and The Little Shiner ~ 1934

    ALL FOUR MEN in the photo (excluding Daniel Chester French) would become Medal Makers for the SOM Series.  The Society of Medalists series (begun in 1930 after this photo of 1929) was created by Medallic Art Company.  It enlisted sculptors for the next 65 years.  That list would read like the Who’s Who of Sculptors (American and otherwise) from 1930 to 1995.

  • LAURA GARDIN FRASER was “The Medal Maker” featured in this film by that same name.  I imagine that she was present for the presentation of the medal to French.  She made numerous other medals (George Washington Bicentennial Medal 1932, Gilbert Stuart It seems ironic that her husband, James Earle Fraser, is admiring the medal and explaining some of her technique with the other sculptors.  It is likely that Carol Brooks MacNeil was also present at the event.  Women, however, were not in leadership in her era.

Related Images:

Ninety-four years after its first minting, the MacNeil “Standing Liberty quarter” retains a strong following among coin collectors.  Tom LaMarre of Coins Magazine calls it MacNeil’s “real masterpiece.”

That says a lot coming from a coin expert like LaMarre. In a fascinating article at NumisMaster.com, he offers the usual numismatic history of the SLQ mixed with new information and delightful humor.  The author has studied enough about MacNeil to mention about a dozen of his other works in the article including, “Sun Vow”, “Pony Express”, and “Ezra  Cornell.” So, the “real masterpiece” compliment seems more than just another ‘two-bit’ comment.  Some of LaMarre’s words which laud MacNeil’s Standing Liberty quarter include:

“Rich in symbolism and finely engraved detail, the new quarter reflected the spirit of peace and preparedness just before the United States entered World War I. It also revived a classical style in sharp contrast to the abstract and modern trends that were sweeping the art world at that time.”

Hermon Atkins MacNeil 1916

MacNeil's "Real Masterpiece" the Standing Liberty quarter design was one of the first US Coins created by an sculptor.

LaMarre gives a thorough history of the design development, the changes, the controversies and the over-involvement of the Director of the Mint.  A previous post on this website describes Jay H. Cline’s research book on the Standing Liberty Quarter includes nearly forty pages of letters between MacNeil and the Mint. LaMarre, finds this humorous  quote on the over-involvement Mr Woolley in MacNeil’s project:

Mint Director Robert W. Woolley was so involved overseeing the preparation of the quarter design at the Mint that the Gettysburg Times predicted it would be known as the “Woolley quarter” or simply the “Woolley.”

Jay Cline's 4th Ed. of Liberty Quarters has excellent information on Hermon MacNeil and this artwork piece minted from 1916- 33

The article offers some details of MacNeil history not seen before.   He gives a discussion of the two women who served as models for the MacNeil’s art, namely Doris Doscher and Irene MacDowell. I had not known that Doris Doscher went public with her role in the SLQ on the TV show “I’ve Got A Secret” (or click HERE for second link).

Coin Collectors, especially SLQ fans and MacNeil enthusiasts alike, will enjoy Tom LaMarre’s article “MacNeil’s Standing Liberty Remains a Favorite.” It summarizes the importance of this art piece for collectors, it’s fascinating history, and MacNeil’s persistent creativity in developing the SLQ.  LaMarre states:

The Standing Liberty quarter had a sculptural quality that set it apart from all previous quarter dollars. The Numismatist described it as “strikingly beautiful.” The New York Times called it a “silvern beauty.”

Coin collectors looking for more can graduate to Jay Cline’s book on Liberty Quarters.  Cline’s book devotes Chapter 5 to telling the story of the two models that posed.

Either way the coin provides in interesting study in history, art and human nature.  Treasury officials, namely Secretary William MacAdoo, had concerns about MacNeil’s delicate engraving not wearing as well in circulation as less artistic coin images of the past.  But numismatists fine the delicate piece simply a treasure. Again LaMarre offers a good twist:

According to the Treasury secretary, it was a “fast-wearing” design that never quite worked out. In the opinion of collectors, it is a masterpiece that will stand in beauty forever.

Related Images:

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Here is ONE place to go to see sculpture of Hermon A. MacNeil & his students. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and private, these creations point us toward the history and values that root Americans.

Daniel Neil Leininger ~ HAMacNeil@gmail.com
Hosting & Tech Support: Leiturgia Communications, Inc.           WATCH US GROW

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the work from all angles, including setting.
2. Take close up photos of details that you like
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of you & others beside the work.
5. Tell your story of adventure. It adds personal interest.
6. Send photos to ~ Webmaster at: HAMacNeil@gmail.com