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

~ This Gallery celebrates Hermon Atkins MacNeil,  of the Beaux Arts School American classic sculptor of Native images and American history.  ~ World’s Fairs, statues, monuments, coins, and more… ~ Hot-links ( lower right) lead to works by Hermon A. MacNeil.   ~ Over 200 of stories & 2,000 photos form this virtual MacNeil Gallery stretching east to west  New York to New Mexico ~ Oregon to S. Carolina.   ~ 2021 marks the 155th Anniversary of Hermon MacNeil’s birth. ~~Do you WALK or DRIVE by MacNeil sculptures DAILY!   ~~ CHECK it OUT!

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

Archive for Hermon A. MacNeil bio

Christmas Eve 1895.

Chicago, Illinois

There was a Wedding in …

Hermon MacNeil’s Studio

~ 1733 Marquette Building ~

Married in a private ceremony on Christmas Day Hermon and Carol MacNeil had a reception in the Marquette Building

Carol Louise Brooks as a young girl. An Etching by William Harry Warren Bicknell. (about 1891)

 

 

Every Christmas we remember this

Special Christmas Day Wedding of two sculptors. 

They met in Chicago, Carol’s hometown as they sculpted the “White City” of The Worlds Columbian Exposition (aka. Chicago Worlds Fair). That event opened in May 1893.  

Hermon made figures on the Electricity Building. Carol (Carrie) was a student of Lorado Taft and became a “White Rabbit”, that group of select females  permitted to sculpt as the deadline for opening day loomed closer.

Two years later Hermon, age 29, proposed to Carol (Carrie) just 24.  She accepted. They got a Marriage License on Christmas Eve and used it the next day.  Several weeks later they sailed to Rome where Hermon had accepted the Reinhart Fellowship and they both continued to learn sculpture for 3 years.  And then spent a a fourth year in Paris.

~ Christmas Day 1895 ~

Hermon MacNeil often made Christmas Cards that  featured his own drawings and studio images.

MacNeil Christmas card from 1922.

Here’s a Card from 1922  ==>>

This pencil sketch proclaiming “Merry Christmas 1922” appears reminiscent of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”

In that composition, a Native Chief, possibly Sioux, coaches a young warrior through a rite of passage — shooting an arrow into the of the sun.

In MacNeil’s 1922 Christmas drawing, a similar pair of figures wave a banner of seasons greetings.  Their presence seems a reprise of the Sun Vow sculpture.

While that was over a century ago, here’s what we can know  today:

  • We know being an artist, MacNeil often carried and kept sketchbooks. 
  • We know he would sit in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his sketchbook.
  • We know he sketched D. L Moody at an interdenominational Sunday Worship in Wild Bill’s Arena (since no Sunday shows were allowed and Moody rented the venue)
  • We know he traveled, sketched and sculpted on his trip to the Southwest territories in 1895 (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado). 
  • We know he formed clay and plaster images there; and he shipped many back to Chicago.
  • We know that his memory of Native images dominated his sculptures for the next ten years.

I suspect that the idea for this card sprang up from the artist’s visual memory, perhaps, revived from an old sketchbook.  A dusty record of images that he first saw three decades earlier at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Here’s More from this website:

“Native American Themes: His first introduction to native subjects came through Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. During the 1893 Worlds Fair, Buffalo Bill’s troupe performed in a carnival setting outside the main entrance. Fascinated, MacNeil’s artist-eye and imagination took every opportunity to see the show and sketch the ceremonies and rituals of Indian life — MacNeil often carried a sketch book. He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had  closed.  MacNeil invited Black Pipe to model for him and assist in studio labors, which he did for over a year.  Inspired by these native subjects and encouraged by Edward Everett Ayers, MacNeil found a respect for this vanishing Native culture and made subsequent trips to the southwest.  When the Marquette Building was constructed, MacNeil was awarded a commission to complete Four Bas Relief Panels  of over the main entrance.  His work depicts four scenes from Marquette’s trip through the Great Lakes region.”

“In the summer of 1895, along with Hamlin Garland (a writer) and C. F. Browne (a painter), he traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) in their changing cultural element on various reservations.  While there, he was asked to sculpt, out of available materials, a likeness of Chief Manuelito. The Navajo warrior had died in despair after being imprisoned for four years as a renegade by the U. S. Government (Col. Kit Carson) twenty-five years earlier.  Manuelito’s likeness (click here), made of available materials, brought tears to his widow’s eyes, and remains an object of cultural pride in Gallup, New Mexico to this day.” SOURCE: Click HERE

Hermon MacNeil met Hamlin Garland in Chicago.

Hermon MacNeil

New York Public Library - Digital Gallery (655 x 760)

H. A. Mac Neil

Hermon MacNeil came to Chicago in 1891. Preliminary work was beginning on the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 (Chicago Worlds Fair)He brought with him a Letter of Introduction to Phillip Martiny, a gift from Augustus Saint Gaudens of New York City. 

“Martiny was one of the large team of decorative sculptors assembled to carry out details for the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, where he settled for a year to carry out the clay models for many somewhat facile decorative allegorical figures, cherubs, caryatids and the like. …  The sculptures, which were carried out in staff, a weather-resistant plaster, were destroyed with the exhibition buildings, but the successful effect they produced led to further similar commissions at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (1901) and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis (1904). His growing reputation led to his only medal, an award medal for the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.”  [4]  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Martiny

“So MacNeil chose to settle in Chicago where this collosal World’s Fair was “being born.”  This decision proved momentous in many ways. In his ‘Chicago Years’ he met people who would remain professional colleagues and friends for the next four decades.   These included Frederick MacMonnies, Lorado Taft, his pupil, Carol Louise  Brooks (who MacNeil was to marry in 1895), Daniel Chester French, as well as architects Daniel Burnham, Stanford White, and Charles Follen McKim. The rest of MacNeil’s career would become a repeated succession of partnerships with these colleagues on projects, monuments, buildings, and memorials that were joint efforts of many Beaux Arts trained scupltors and architects associated with the American Academy in Rome.”The rest story has been told on  this website at:  “The Chicago Years”  [CLICK HERE]. 

Fifty years later, Hermon MacNeil, revisited these “Chicago Years” when he wrote out his thirteen page Autobiography.  Here’s what he wanted us to know:

St. Gaudens was then the great sculptor in America and in my brash way [ I ] went to N. Y. City and asked him for a job, that is, the privilege of being an apprentice.  He was kind enough to give me a letter to Philip Martiny, a very able sculptor who had considerable work at that time designing sculpture for the coming exposition in ChicagoHe rather doubtfully took me on.  At the end of the first week he asked me what I thought I should have for pay.  I had had no professional experience so I told him to set my stipend.  I would have taken $2 or $3 a day if he said so but he asked me if $5 would be enough!  I don’t think I showed any disappointment in my face and told him that was O.K.  (O.K. was not used in those days however)  So for a year I revelled [sic] in assisting in the professional work and learned a great deal.  Had in Paris learned to model the figure but in the studio to use intelligently and decoratively that knowledge was another thing again.  As a friend of Martiny’s said to me when looking at my work, “Don’t you know their is a great difference between a school study and a work of art?”  It sunk in.” [ “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH — HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL,” June, 1943, page 4. ] Cornell University Archives.

Hamlin Garland

Garland Garland came to Chicago in 1893. 

Teen Writer.Garland began to write poetry during his teens and published his first poem in Harper’s Weekly called Lost in a Norther which announced his close connection with the adventurous American spirit and the pioneering life that would characterize a large part of his fiction.” [ https://mypoeticside.com/poets/hamlin-garland-poems ]

Keen Observer. “It wasn’t until Garland was in his early thirties though that he began to achieve some success with a collection of short stories under the title Main Travelled Roads. He used this success to move to Chicago where he gave lectures on writing in a more realistic way and later also visited the ‘untamed’ west where he observed cowboys and made copious books of notes on the life of American Indians. It was these keen character studies that he would use in his fiction in later years.”  [ https://mypoeticside.com/poets/hamlin-garland-poems ]

Scene Novelist.  When Garland moved to Chicago in 1893, he wanted to experience the events and excitement of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  He was already considered “a significant figure in the Chicago Literary Movement” and “one of Chicago’s most important authors”.[8]  He wanted to both participate and witness this global, cultural symbol of the emerging American Exceptionalism.   Garland contributed some of the featured 6,000 lectures. In doing so he became friendly with Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and Rudyard Kipling, as well as Edward Eggleston, Joseph Kirkland and E.W. Howe.” [3]

 The Woodlawn neighborhood sprung up to house the explosion of workers, businesses, and commerce necessary to construct the “White City”  He settled in Woodlawn at 6427 South Greenwood Avenue, an apartment just six blocks south of the Midway and its amusements. 

Community of Artists.  The White City consisted of gleaming, white Beaux Arts structures blending Classical, Renaissance, Romanesque, and other styles.  The sculptors, architects, and artists interacted in the creation of fourteen Great Buildings. The Halls were dedicated to themes, including Electricity, Liberal Arts, Machinery, Agriculture, Administration, Machinery, Mining, Transportation, Horticulture, Fisheries, Womens Hall, Forestry, US Government, and Court of Honor.  

The White Rabbits.   The story of Larado Taft and his female assistants, The White Rabblts, has been told many times here on this website.  They did more than finish the works of their male sculptors counterparts.

The Rabbits weren’t just responsible for realizing other people’s visions; several of them also contributed their own sculptures to the fair. Scudder created an allegorical female Justice for the Illinois building as well as a sculpture for the pavilion of her home state, Indiana. Taft’s sister Zulime Garland made Flying Victory and Learning. Julia Bracken Wendt, who was already the most talented assistant in Taft’s studio before the fair, sculpted Faith; Charity was undertaken by Carrie Brooks MacNeil, Maternity by Ellen Copp, and “Art” by Bessie Potter Vonnoh.

Friendships and Romance.  While creating the these buildings and sculptures, there evolved a unique community of White City artists.  The collegiality extended through the years. Several friendships evolved into marriage.   Both Garland and MacNeil found their life partners in Larado Taft”s assistants, The White Rabbits.  A recurring community of Camp Life sprung up:

[1] “The spirit of playful camaraderie among the city’s artists was manifest in the first of several outings to Bass Lake, Indiana.  For two weeks in August 1894 Potter experienced invigorating camp life with the sculptors Lorado Taft, Carrie Brooks, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, Lew Wall Moore, and Edward and Laura Swing Kemeys, And the painters Charles Francis Browne, Carl Heber, and Menthe Svenden.  Between recreational activities and spirited antics, painters and sculptors alike engaged in plein-air oil sketching of the scenery.  Evenings were given over to art lectures illustrated by the stereopticon projected on a make shift screen consisting  of a sheet stretched between trees.  Such a good time was had that the artist arranged another merry outing for September.  There after the excursions became annual events.” 

[1] Julie Aronson, Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women, Cincinnati Art Museum: Ohio University Press; Athens, Ohio. 2008, p. 31.

TWO MARRIAGES:

Hermon MacNeil married Carol (Carrie) Brooks a student of Larado Taft, and Hamlin Garland married Zulime Taft, sister of Larado. 

They all built The White City, BUT the White City sculpted their lives as well.

SOURCES:

  1. [1] Julie Aronson, Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women, Cincinnati Art Museum: Ohio University Press; Athens, Ohio. 2008, p. 31.
  2. Jamaicia Plain Historical Society [ https://www.jphs.org/people/2005/4/14/hamlin-garland-one-of-the-great-literary-pioneers-of-america.html ]

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The Hamlin Garland Memorial Highway ~

Brown County, South Dakota

Hamlin Garland https://mypoeticside.com/wp-content/uploads/gallery-images/e6845fc.jpeg 

Hamlin Garland Highway in Brown County South Dakota.
[Credit: Hamlin Garland Society]

 

 

​In June 1936, the Brown County Commissioners named a section of Brown County Highway 11, for a total of 10 miles, the “Hamlin Garland Memorial Highway.” This section travels past the homestead of Garland’s father, Richard, who homesteaded in 1881. In 1998, new signs were placed along this stretch of paved road noting the name of the highway. 

[ Hamlin Garland Society of Aberdeen, SD   http://www.garlandsociety.org/ ]

Hamlin Garland Highway in South Dakota.

GARLAND TOWNSHIP–This township was named after Hamlin Garland, a novelist, who lived in this area with his pioneer parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Garland.  The land south and west of Columbia [and Ordway] was immortalized by this writer in “Among the Corn Rows,” and “A Son of the Middle Border.”

SOURCE:  Information courtesy of Gene Aisenbrey ~ Hamlin Garland Society of Aberdeen, SD  Contact: garlandsociety@gmail.com      Copyright © 2015

Garland information on the web:

In 1895 HAMLIN GARLAND led Hermon MacNeil and Francis Brown to the four corners area (AZ, NM, CO, UT) to witness the Native American people and culture there.

  • Hamlin Garland Highway in South Dakota. [SOURCE:  Information courtesy of Gene Aisenbrey ~ Hamlin Garland Society of Aberdeen, SD ~ Contact: garlandsociety@gmail.com  Copyright © 2015 ]
  • Hamlin Garland Biography  (Wisconsin Authors and Their Works)

    • A Biography of three pages
    • One of Garland’s Grant Interviews with Julia Dent Grant (1826-1902) widow of General U. S. Grant
  • SD Historical Society: “Hamlin Garland’s South Dakota: History and Story” https://www.sdhspress.com/journal/south-dakota-history-9-3/hamlin-garlands-dakota-history-and-story/vol-09-no-3-hamlin-garlands-dakota.pdf
  • A brief Garland bio (Al Filreis)

~ A Poem by Hamlin Garland ~

“Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane:
The palms of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your cheek will tan,
You’ll grow ragged and weary and swarthy,
But you’ll walk like a man!”

Their  adventure in 1895 led into Native settlements in Colorado, Arizona (Moqui, Navajo), New Mexico, and Utah:

  •  Hamlin Garland, led the tour to the southwest in the summer of 1895. MacNeil & Browne wanted to gain direct experience of American Indians to inform their art. What the trio found reflected in their respective painting, sculpture and writing.
  • MacNeil sculpted a cement statue of Chief Manuelito for trader C. N. Cotton under a tent in the dessert. His subsequent sculptures of Native Americans after that summer of 1895 continued his cultural interest.  That fascination began with his friendship and sculpting of Black Pipe, the Sioux warrior. He first met Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  The Sioux modeled for MacNeil and later worked in his studio for over a year before MacNeil’s trip with Garland.
  • Charles Francis Browne was a painter and friend (his room mate in Paris) who accompanied Hermon MacNeil and the author.
  • Edward Everett Ayers was an art patron to both MacNeil and Browne.  He had been a Civil War Calvary officer stationed in the southwestern United States.  He became a lumberman who made a fortune selling railroad ties and telephone poles. He urged MacNeil to travel to see the vanishing West of the American Indian.  He became an arts benefactor whose art collections are now housed by the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as, the Newberry Library.    His copy of MacNeil’s “Moqui Runner” still graces the Newberry Library.

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Happy Birthday to all you “Leaplings” out there.  It’s Leap Day. 

It only comes once every four years or 1,460 days, if you’re counting.  Today is just another Leap Day to 99.73% of us.  But to you Leapsters, it is another long-awaited actual birthday – a full 24 hour birthday. Congratulations. Celebrate being alive!  Today, we will join in with you from afar.

There are approximately 187,000 of you leaplings in the U.S, and about 4 million Leaplings in the entire world.  Since your actual birthdate only comes once in 1,461 days, we will give you 4 exclamation points after the usual greeting today.  So “Happy Birthday, Leaplings!!!!

Thomas Henry McNeil in 1894

My grandfather, Tom Henry McNeil, was a Leapling (or a Leapster, if you prefer), born on February 29, 1860.  He was quite a man.   His Wikipedia page at Thomas H. McNeil states in part:

“Thomas H. McNeil (February 29, 1860 – October 1, 1932) was an American football player and lawyer. He was the first University of Michigan football player to be the starting quarterback in consecutive years. He led the Michigan football team to undefeated seasons in 1884 and 1885. He later became a lawyer practicing in Missouri”

 
Tom was an older cousin of the sculptor, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, to whom this website is dedicated. He taught all his children to address Hermon as “Uncle Hermon” out of respect for him as a distinguished elder of the MacNeil line. 

Yes, today is special.  It’s Leap Day. But it is also special because it is another day to live.  A great truth of life is that every day is special.  Every day is a day for us to be truly live. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12. – a verse from Sunday School.  It’s sort of a prayer, asking God to: “Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.”

Oh, wise! Growing old comes kind of naturally.  Growing wise takes a bit more help.   It really helps to be taught that we have a heart and a soul, to be loved into growing as a human being.  And to learn to listen to both and apply our hearts to becoming wiser than we used to be. 

 “Number Your Days”  and Become Wise.

“Happy Birthday” ~ All You Leapsters!

February 29, 2020

 

( Edit this Post )

Why do we celebrate MacNeil Month each February?  Two reasons:

  1. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” Hermon 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/

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

     

    1. February 27 is the 154th anniversary of the birth of Hermon A. MacNeil, born in 1866.  Hermon is the patron-sculptor whose work and life are celebrated at this website – HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.
  2. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” Tom Henry McNeil, My grandfather ~ And the older cousin of Hermon MacNeil.

    Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (b. 1860 – d. 1932)

    1. February 29 is the Anniversary of the birth of Thomas (Tom) Henry McNeil (my grandfather) born in 1860, one-hundred and sixty years ago.
    2. Tom told his daughters to address “Hermon” as “Uncle Hermon.”  “Uncle” was the title of respect bestowed on their first-cousin-twice-removed.

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