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

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American sculptor of the Beaux Arts School. MacNeil led a generation of sculptors in capturing many fading Native American images and American history in the realism of this classic style.

~ World’s Fairs, statues, public monuments, coins, and buildings across to country. Hot-links (on the lower right) lead to photos & info of works by MacNeil.

~ Hundreds of stories and photos posted here form this virtual MacNeil Gallery of works all across the U.S.A.  New York to New Mexico — Oregon to South Carolina.

~ 2016 marked the 150th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth on February 27,

Take a Virtual Journey

This website seeks to transport you through miles and years with a few quick clicks of a mouse or keyboard or finger swipes on an iPad.

Perhaps you walk or drive by one of MacNeil's many sculptures daily. Here you can gain awareness of this artist and his works.

For over one hundred years his sculptures have graced our parks, boulevards, and parkways; buildings, memorials, and gardens; campuses, capitols, and civic centers; museums, coinage, and private collections.

Maybe there are some near you!

Archive for Clan MacNeil

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

This Feb 27th of 2018 marks the 152 Anniversary of the birth of HERMON ATKINS MacNEIL. We celebrate with a little MacNeil history.

American sculptor of hundreds of pieces and monuments all over this country, 1st President of the Clan MacNeil Association of America,

Eight years ago this website started gathering the many images and stories associated with his life and work.  The Clan name traces back to to the Island of Barra in the Western Hebrides of Scotland.

The Kisimul Castle in Castle Bay was restored by the MacNeil of Barra XLV –Robert Lister MacNeil.  The story of the Clan and the Castle are told in his book, Castle in the Sea: The Macneil of Barra XLV, published in 1964.  His son Ian Roderick Macneil, Chief, Clan Macneil, published a revised 2nd edition 1975.

The Kisimul Castle is featured in cameo on this postcard “The Macneil” by Raphael Tuck and Sons. (Publishers to their Majesties the King and Queen) as part of their series “SCOTTISH CLANS.” Series VI; Postcard 9481.

The reverse of this never used postcard contains a Clan history of the two branches of the MacNeils:

No Date is found on the Postcard

MacNeil Chief greets visitors arriving to the Kisimul Castle for the 2014 Gathering of the MacNeil Clan.

The 2014 Gathering of the Clan was celebrated at the Castle and across Barra. I had the priviledge to attend the festivities and to tour Scotland for three weeks with Donna, my wife.  It was a memorable trip of a lifetime and an inauguration of our retirement years.

Webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger in kilt at Kisimul Castle in the summer of 2014.

 

 

 “Scotland ~ the beautiful home of historic clans.”

Scot2014DanDonna

Dan Leininger wears the modern MacNeil tartan six-yard kilt with formal dress jacket and MacNeil crest. Donna is dressed for comfort.

NO these are not Native Scot revelers.  Just a  stunning couple that have briefly transplanted from the U.S. of A.

Dan and Donna Leininger are celebrating Dan’s heritage from MacNeil and McKay clans. This pair have just finished 13 days of their 21 day MacNeil Clan tour.  These two travelers are decked out for an evening under the stars at the Military tattoo. 

Their journey through  Scotland included the 2014 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. IMG_0402The annual event fills the stadium at Edinburgh Castle for 23 consecutive days and nights every August.  No summer tour of the Highlands is complete without witnessing this spectacle. Bands, Pipes, drums, marching, dancing, precision movement.  Three hours of spectacular entertainment in the cool night air of Scotland.

Bagpippers playing in mass at the 2014 Tatoo

Pippers and Drums playing in mass at the 2014 Tatoo

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The crowd along the Royal Mile. [ The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town.]

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What a fabulous evening under the stars high atop Edinburgh Castle hill. 

Edinburgh Castle silhouetted by a dramatic sunset. evening

Edinburgh Castle silhouetted by a dramatic sunset evening.   [ Source: http://www.edintattoo.co.uk/the-experience/edinburgh-castle ]

PHOTO CREDITS:

  1.  ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO: edintattoo.co.uk
  2. ALL OTHER PHOTOS 1-6: Dan Leininger (copyright 2014)
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ScotBarraChief2014

Roderick Wilson MacNeil of Barra, 47th Chief, stands at Kisimul Castle. (August 2014 dnl)

 
Webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger in kilt at Kisimul Castle in the summer of 2014.

Webmaster, Daniel Neil Leininger in kilt at Kisimul Castle in the summer of 2014.

Kisimul Castle was the 14th Century home of the MacNeil Chiefs.

In 2014, the current Chief, Roderick Wilson MacNeil, received the Clan members at a Reunion of the MacNeil Clan on Barra. Here he stands outside the boat landing to the Castle.

In the courtyard of Kisimul Castle two young Lasses were playing bagpipes to welcome the visitors.   Kisimul3

The castle home of the MacNeil Chieftains has been restored and contains many of the ancient objects of the clan. 

Kisimul2Crest

“Vincere Vel Mori” Conquer or Die ~ The MacNeil motto over the crest and coat of arms.

The MacNeil Crest graces the wall of the Great Room above the fireplace.  

  Weapons hang from the far wall ascending the stairway.

ScotBarraGathering

The MacNeil Gathering inside Kisimul Castle August 2014. MacNeil’s from Scotland, Barra, Canada, and the USA stand together

According to the MacNeil Clan Association website: KisimulCourt2014

“In 1937 Kisimul castle and most of the Island of Barra were brought back into the family when Robert L(ister) MacNeill, a descendant of the 22nd chief, returned from the United States, purchased most of Barra and spent his life restoring Kisimul Castle. His son, the 46th chief, (was) a law Professor and divid(ed) his time between Scotland and the United States.”  (Source: http://www.clanmacneilusa.us/?page_id=61 ) 

SOURCES:

Clan MacNeilhttp://www.clanmacneilusa.us/?page_id=61

Historic Scotlandhttp://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/places/propertyresults/propertyabout.htm?PropID=PL_189&PropName=Kisimul%20Castle

PHOTO CREDITS: Dan Leininger (Copyright 2014)

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The castle has since been placed under the protectorship of Historic Environment Scotland.  This allows for the perpetual preservation of this site as a Scottish national treasure. 

It opens it also to attract thousands of visitors annually to experience the serene beauty of the Isle of Barra ~ the westernmost habitation of the Outer Hebrides.

The beautiful Isle of Barra was (as the local Scots say ) truly a “Barradise” of MacNeil sights and Scottish Heritage.  The natural undisturbed beauty makes it a restful where the wash of the waves wash sing you to sleep at night, and the sea gulls gently wake you in the morning.

SOURCES: 

  • Clan MacNeilhttp://www.clanmacneilusa.us/?page_id=61
  • Historic Scotlandhttp://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/places/propertyresults/propertyabout.htm?PropID=PL_189&PropName=Kisimul%20Castle
  • PHOTO CREDITS: Dan Leininger

 

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The year 2016 marks the sesquicentennial of the birth of Hermon Atkins  MacNeil on February 27, 1886.

2016-rev-1

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

Hermon Atkins MacNeil about the time of his Standing Liberty works.

While we celebrate each February as “MacNeil Month,”  this year is extra special as the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Several events during 2016 will acknowledge that here on HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com:

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  • The newly commissioned 2016 MacNeil Medallion will be available for sale on eBay.  CLICK HERE
  • Postings will continue to celebrate the life and art of Hermon A. MacNeil.
  • Kisimul Castle the home of the MacNeil Chieftans from the 14th century, will be featured.
  • The origins of the MacNeil Clan on the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides will be visited with photos and history .
  • The webmaster’s ongoing travels and activity will be presented as his “Search for Uncle Hermon” continues as a odyssey of retirement.
  • Antique “MacNeil Postcards” of some of his sculptures across the U. S. will be presented as features.
  • MacNeil’s years in Paris will be revisited with photos of the newly restored Ecole de Beaux Arts where he studied and taught.
  • MacNeil’s teachers in Paris will be featured with photos of their sculptures in the Musee d’Orsay in the center of Paris. This museum was built as the railroad station for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in which MacNeil and his contemporary sculptors exhibited and received prizes.
  • Our recent Travels to Scotland will be featured with photos and stories.
  • Our travels to France this year will be shared.

ALL in ALL, 2016 begins as a banner year for this website. SO stay tuned.

Better yet, SUBSCRIBE by clicking the button.

2016 marks a banner year for this website.

This February 27th, 2016 marks another anniversary of the birth of Hermon Atkins MacNeil  our patron sculptor.

2016-rev-12016 actually celebrates the:

150th

Anniversary 

of the birth of

HERMON ATKINS Mac NEIL

In honor of this Anniversary, we have commissioned a MacNeil Medallion commemorating his birth and the Centennial of the first minting of the Liberty Standing Quarter.

This beautiful bronze medal features the image of MacNeil at about age 60.  It is plated in nickel and measures 3 inches (77 mm) in diameter.  

It is available on now eBay. CLICK HERE

The other side of the medallion celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the first mintings of the Standing Liberty Quarter.  BUT More About that later.

Upcoming: MacNeil Roots and Pursuits

WHAT YOU FIND HERE.

Nearby or far away, there is no ONE place to go and appreciate this wide range of art pieces. Located in cities from east to west coast, found indoors and out, public and hidden, these creations point us toward the history and values in which our lives as Americans have taken root.

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

WE DESIRE YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS – Suggestions

1. Take digital photos of the entire work from several angles, including the surroundings.
2. Take close up photos of details that capture your imagination.
3. Look for MacNeil’s signature, often on bronze works. Photograph it too! See examples above.
4. Please, include a photo of yourself and/or those with you standing beside the work.
5. Add your comments or a blog of your adventure. It adds personal interest for viewers.
6. Send photos to HAMacNeil@gmail.com Contact me there with any questions. ~~ Webmaster