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 Illinois

Mary Lawrence was a talented sculptor.  All that is left of her work in the 1893 World’s Fair are the pictures, as depicted below.

“Christopher Columbus” by Mary Lawrence at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, Chicago, Illinois

She became one of The White Rabbits along with Carol (Carrie) Brooks (MacNeil) and numerous other “women assistants” to Lorado Taft and other male sculptors.  They helped create “the White City” as the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair was known. The material was temporary, made of staff plaster, and modeled on wooden and medal frameworks.  The elegance of the White City inspired 

Lawrence was a pupil of Augustus Saint Gaudens at the Art Students League of New York for five years.  In that period, she proved her skills many times over. 

In the Chicago exhibition, her work with the White Rabbits was overpowered by an accomplishment central to the Court of Honor.

Saint Gaudens’ recommended that she create the theme statue of the exposition, namely, the monumental center-piece of Christopher Columbus. 1 This work was to be placed in the Court of Honor at the entrance of the Administration Building. 

Frank Millet, who served as Director of Decorations, resented that a woman “had been selected, and seemed to bear her some personal animus as well.” 2   Seeing the piece put on such a prominent place, he ordered her to move the statue to the plaza of the railroad station. Lawrence complied even though Charles F. McKim, architect for Exposition, had told to place the work at that location.  His authority to do so was second only to Daniel Burnham, the Chief Coordinating Architect.

She approached McKim a second time to tell him of the change.  He had the statue returned to the Court of Honor at the Administration Building entrance.  McKim worked with Augustus Saint Gaudens on many projects.  He was introduced to Mary Lawrence by Saint Gaudens as they collaborated in New York on early plans for the Exposition in Chicago.

Though McKim was twenty years senior to Mary Lawrence, Bruce Wilkinson describes their relationship in this way:

“Her good looks and high spirits made her popular with the young and the not so young.  Charles Follen McKim, whose second wife had died tragically after one short idyllic year, fell in love with her and remained a little so all the rest of his crowded life.”

Kim, Burnham, and especially, Lorado Taft were open to women as students and sculptors. Their show of support in the White Rabbitsdecision advanced opportunities for women for years to come. 

Janet Scudder (1869-1940) was one of Taft’s students who described her own the joy filled elation and that of her White-Rabbit-sisters in the following way:

“Janet describes working under Loredo as “That wonderful year! Filled with work, filled with accomplishment and filled with what was considered in those days a very fat salary!”[2] The salary was so large that, upon being paid, “We rushed back to our rooms at the hotel, opened the envelopes and poured out the five-dollar bills (for some reason we were paid our hundred and fifty dollars in five-dollar bills,) and carpeted the floor with them. We wanted to see what it felt like to walk on money.” [3] 3

The Joy of the “White Rabbits” changed their lives and the future of sculpture.

Women and men working on figures for the East entrance to the Horticulture Building in Taft’s section of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Chicago History Museum Images. SOURCE: [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

Footnotes:

  1. White City

    Most of the buildings of the fair were designed in the neoclassical architecture style. The area at the Court of Honor was known as The White City. Façades were made not of stone, but of a mixture of plaster, cement, and jute fiber called staff, which was painted white, giving the buildings their “gleam”. Architecture critics derided the structures as “decorated sheds”. The buildings were clad in white stucco, which, in comparison to the tenements of Chicago, seemed illuminated. It was also called the White City because of the extensive use of street lights, which made the boulevards and buildings usable at night.
  2. Bruce Wilkinson, Uncommon Clay: The Life and Works of Augustus Saint Gaudens. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, Orlando, Florida, 1985, p. 249
  3. Ibid.
  4. Janet Scudder: “White Rabbits: American Women Sculptors”. [ At: https://discoverherstory.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/white-rabbits-american-women-sculptors/ on March 1, 2019.]

 

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

In the 1890’s Women Sculptors were not accepted as students by many established sculptors. One exception was Larado Taft of Chicago. He taught and encouraged many female student artist to develop their skills as sculptors.

Lorado Taft and sculpture class

Description:Photograph of Lorado Taft and his sculpture class at the Chicago Art Institute (ca. 1890s). Identified individuals are Carrie Brooks McNeil (seated, front left), Julia Bracken (seated front right), Will LeFavor (standing second from left in checkered apron), and Lorado Taft (standing third from right in black vest). (Note 1)

The White Rabbits

The story is told by Wikipedia as follows: As the date of the f air’s opening grew closer, Taft realized that he would not be able to complete the decorations in time. Discovering that all the male sculptors he had in mind were already employed elsewhere, he asked Daniel Burnham if he could use women assistants, an occurrence that was virtually unheard of at that time. Burnham’s reply was that Taft could “hire anyone, even white rabbits, if they can get the work done.” Taft, an instructor of sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute who had many qualified women students and who frequently employed women assistants himself, brought in a group of women assistants who were promptly dubbed “the White Rabbits.”

One side note:  The White Rabbits helped build the White City, as the Chicago Fair was called.  “Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears”  were the words that Katherine Lee Bates wrote in 1895 in her poem “America, the Beautiful.”  Samuel A. Ward composed the hymn tune in 1882. It was combined with Bates’ poem in 1910 and published as “America, the Beautiful.” Read the complete history HERE  . The words became part of the third verse inspired by her seeing the Columbian Exposition “White City” in 1893. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rabbits_(sculptors)

From the ranks of the White Rabbits were to emerge some of the most talented and successful women sculptors of the next generation. These include:

Horticultural Building

Horticulture Building of World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Women Sculptors nick named the “White Rabbits” created much of the work on this building. Carol Louise Brooks (later MacNeil) was one of those sculptors. (Note 2)

Besides their work on the Horticultural Building, several of the White Rabbits were to obtain other commissions to produce sculpture at the Exposition. Among these were Lawrence’s statue of Columbus, placed in front of the Administration Building, Yandell’s Daniel Boone for the Kentucky Building, Bracken’s Illinois Greeting the Nations in the Illinois Building, and Farnsworth’s Columbia for the Wisconsin Building.

Enid Yandell’s “Daniel Boone” in Louisville, Kentucky
Note 3. SOURCE: PJ Chmiel https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/497505305_c32f7e852d_b.jpg
Horticulture Building of World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Women Sculptors nick named the “White Rabbits” created much of the work on this building. Carol Louise Brooks (later MacNeil) was one of those sculptors. (Note 2)

Notes:

  1. Original photo found in RS 26/20/16, Box 25, Art Institute Classes. Phys. Desc: TIFF     Original photo is 7.75″ x 4.5″ ID:0006291. Repository: University of Illinois Archives. Found in: Lorado Taft Papers, 1857-1953. Subjects: American SculptureChicago Art Institute Taft, Lorado, 1860-1936. Rights:This image is in the public domain. Please contact us if you would like to purchase a high-resolution copy of the image.
  2. [CREDITS: By C.D. Arnold – Arnold, C.D., The World’s Columbian Exposition: Portfolio of Views, Issued by the Department of Photography, National Chemigraph Company, Chicago, 1893, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29205089]
  3. PHOTO: Daniel Boone statue; by PJ Chmiel. See his gallery on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjchmiel/  also https://farm1.staticflickr.com/196/497505305_c32f7e852d_b.jpg

 

by William Harry Warren Bicknell

Close-up of etching of Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil by W. H. W. Bicknell dated 1897

William Harry Warren Bicknell was an American artist born in 1860 in Boston Massachusetts. His etching of Carol Brooks MacNeil (below) is on paper and framed behind glass. It measures about 8”x9.5” (etching) frame is 12.25” x 14.5”. The etching is dated 1897 (note signature block on bottom photo).

The work was obtained from the estate sale of Walter Pratt, first cousin of Hermon Atkins MacNeil. Carol Brooks was a sculptor and artist in her own right. She was one of the “White Rabbits” who worked on the 1893 World Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair). In addition, on Christmas Day of 1895, she married Hermon Atkins MacNeil designer of the Standing Liberty Quarter.

Another similiar sample of the work of William Harry Warren Bicknell is offered below. Most of his works on the Smithsonian American Art Museum website are “Untitled”  Click Here

This work of William Harry Warren Bicknell is Untitled (woman in plumed hat), n.d., etching on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Leonard Hastings Schoff, 1979.33.2

Stay tuned to HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com for more on Carol Louise Brooks MacNeil and the other women sculptors called the “White Rabbits” of 1897 Chicago Worlds Fair.

Related posts:

  1. Hermon MacNeil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition ~ ~ ~ THE CHICAGO YEARS ~ ~ (5) CHICAGO YEARS:  Partners and Colleagues When Hermon MacNeil came home to the…
  2. ~ ~ ~ “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…
  3. The MacNeil’s Chicago Wedding – Christmas Day 1895 (5) I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining…
  4. MacNeil – Brooks 120th Anniversary (1895-2015) (5) On Christmas Day one dozen decades ago, Hermon A. MacNeil…
  5. Marquette Statue in Chicago (4) Today we took a short trip south from our daughter’s…
  6. Lorado Taft offered praise for ‘promising Native works’ of Hermon Atkins MacNeil in 1903 (4) In the early 1900s, because of his knowledge and authorship…

One Hundred and twenty-three years (123) ago, Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were on married Christmas Day.

Recently an invitation to their Wedding Reception came available from the estate of Walter Pratt. He was a first cousin of Hermon. A facsimile appears below.

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

Noteworthy, is the location of the reception: the “Studio 1733 Marquette Building Chicago, Adams and Dearborn Streets, Chicago”. Recovery of this printed invitation adds several previously unknown facts to the story of their wedding day.  The 19th Century Marquette Building is the 21st Century home of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The wedding earlier in the day was a private ceremony. Rev. Edward F. Williams, a Congregational Minister, officiated. Their license, completed in Rev. Williams hand, appears below.

Marriage License of Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks issued on December 24th, 1895 and completed on Christmas Day 1895 by Rev. Edward F. Williams, Congregational Minister.

“Marriage: On Christmas Day 1895, in Chicago, he married Carol Louise Brooks, also a sculptor (see their marriage record below). Earlier MacNeil was informed that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship. Following their wedding, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899) and eventually spend a fourth year in Paris where their first son, Claude, was born.  During those years they studied together under the same masters and shared the income of the Rinehart scholarship awarded to Hermon. (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).”

Both Carol and Hermon sculpted for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Carol Brooks was one of Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits”

Lorado Taft’s “White Rabbits” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rabbits_(sculptors)

Hermon sculpted statues on the Electricity Building (See picture below)

Sketch of Hermon MacNeil from a newspaper article announcing the 1895 award of the Rinehart Prize
Carol Brooks MacNeil in 1907 with their two sons, Claude (rt) and Alden (lt) at their College Point Home in Queens, NYC, NY where she lived until her death in 1944.

Related posts:

  1. ~ ~ ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage! (13) 1895 Hermon Atkins MacNeil, American Sculptor (1866-1947) MacNeil’s bronze of…
  2. Hermon MacNeil ~ “The Most Happy Young Man I Know!” (10) ~ Christmas Day 1895 ~ In 1895, Amy Aldis Bradley…
  3. Hermon MacNeil at the 1893 Columbian Exposition ~ ~ ~ THE CHICAGO YEARS ~ ~ (9) CHICAGO YEARS:  Partners and Colleagues When Hermon MacNeil came home to the…
  4. “PRIMITIVE INDIAN MUSIC” ~ Part 3: 1894 Eda Lord’s Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair (9) Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue,…
  5. The MacNeil’s Chicago Wedding – Christmas Day 1895 (9) I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining…
  6. MacNeil – Brooks 120th Anniversary (1895-2015) (7) On Christmas Day one dozen decades ago, Hermon A. MacNeil…

July 21, 2011. The restored bust on display at the Spurlock Museum at University of Illinois. After a thorough cleaning and patina restoration, MacNeil’s Lincoln bust went on public display for one year in the Spurlock Museum. This was the first showing of the piece in full circle — 360 degree visibility.

     MacNeil’s Abe Lincoln (above) was cleaned and the patina restored in 2011 when Lincoln Hall was reconstructed for its 100th Anniversary.  

     After six years back in his old niche in the east foyer entrance of beautiful Lincoln Hall, I was curious about how much wear Lincoln’s “lucky nose” had sustained from student caresses on their way to exams and classes.

     So, while traveling to visit family in Kentucky, Virginia, and NC in July 2017, we made opportunity to spend the night in Urbana, Illinois. We turned very appropriately onto “Lincoln Street” off of I-74 and found a motel for the night.  

The next morning (Monday, July 31st) we ventured off toward the restored Lincoln Hall on the University of Illinois campus.  Wiggling through blocks of summer street construction into Wright Street, we parked and walked toward the Main Quad.

Larado Taft’s Alma Mater

Lorado Taft’s powerful allegorical grouping “Alma Mater” (with Learning and Labor) at the corner of Eighth and Wright Street greeted us.  (Taft was the alumnus who recommended MacNeil’s bust of Lincoln over other artists considered for placement in the Hall in 1924.) For More on Taft click HERE

We met an alumnae who had dropped her son off for summer workshops.  She asked us to take her picture with the Alma Mater behind her.  Turned out she was originally from Beresford, SD and planned to retire in the Black Hills. Small world.

Abe Lincoln’s nose has a well worn shine again. The patina restoration in 2011 has given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.

We walked into the old quadrangle at the  center of campus.  Walking the brick walks of the lush green lawn. we arrived at the east entrance of Lincoln Hall. We stopped to admire the terra-cotta bas-relief panels placed above the high windows of the building. They depict scenes from the life of the prairie lawyer memorialized in this beautiful hall.

The restored East Foyer of Lincoln Hall with its gilded vaulted ceiling and columns makes a dramatic setting for Hermon A. MacNeil’s bust of Abraham Lincoln as the famed prairie lawyer who left Illinois to lead the nation through the War to preserve the Union and the succession South states.

Entering the East Foyer, we could see the Lincoln bust before us.  The magnificent Beaux Arts style of the ceiling formed a vaulted arch spanning above the wings of the white marble stairs and landing.  This splendidly restored foyer dominated the life-size bust of our sixteenth President centered on the landing in its gold-leafed niche.

The tradition of touching Lincoln’s nose for “good luck” has passed on to another generation of Illini students since the restoration.

Even from the doorway a “bronze glow” could be glimpsed on Abe Lincoln’s nose.  He was wearing his well-worn shine again. As predicted, the brown patina of the 2011 restoration had given way to the”petting” and “well wishes of 100’s of hands” seeking blessings from Old Honest Abe.  The tradition has carried on to Lincoln Hall’s second century.

The bronze relief plaque containing the words of the Address at Gettysburg was on our right.  The gold gilding of the column capitals and the rosettes in the vaulted arch of the ceiling, gave an inspiring elegance to this hall of remembrance.

In the elegance of this hallowed hall, Abe’s “accessible nose” adds a tactile legacy and fitting tribute to learning in the “Land of Lincoln.

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