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 Indiana

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
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.

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Page 18 of the “Galley” for Summer 2014

Hermon MacNeil was the first president of the Clan MacNeil Association of America.  This summer, the Galley will contain a feature article about him, written by Dan Leininger, webmaster of this website — HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com.

"The Galley" Spring/Summer 2013; Clan MacNeil Association of America

“The Galley” Spring/Summer 2013; Official Publication of the Clan MacNeil Association of America

The previous posting of February 8, 2013, entitled, “MacNeil Kinsman ~ Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Robert Lister MacNeil,” tells part of the story of these two men.

Vicki Sanders Corporon, editor of the Galley, has accepted the article and accompanying photos that tell more of the story. She said in recent correspondence:

“Thanks for sending such excellent photos of Hermon’s sculptures. I know their inclusion, along with your article, will be the highlight of the upcoming issue! He really was one of America’s finest sculptors … how important is your mission to make sure he is fully appreciated!”

Sculpture photos of the Supreme Court (East Pediment); George Washington from the Washington Arch in NYC; Abraham Lincoln from University of Illinois; Ezra Cornell at Ithaca; Confederate Defenders Monument (1932) Charleston harbor, SC; and George Rogers Clark at Vincennes will illustrate the story.

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, the clan’s first president.

Stay tuned for more as the publication is released. 

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George Rogers Clark determination and military genius persuaded Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia (colony) to use Virginia militia and volunteers to capture British forts along the Mississippi River.

George Rogers Clark is in Vincennes, Indiana.   Hermon MacNeil’s sculpture of this American Revolutionary hero stands 7 1/2 feet tall. 

For over 75 years, this larger-than-life bronze celebrates the ‘Conquest of the West.’  Inside the refurbished rotunda, the proud patriot stands braced on his drawn sword with a face filled with accomplishment.  Commissioned by Patrick Henry in the Virginia Militia, George Rogers Clark, a brilliant young military strategist, conceived and accomplished a near impossible mission that won the West to the Mississippi River for the 13 United States in 1779. 

  1. (For more on the story of Fort Sackville and Clark’s dedicated militia men SEE below: )
  2. For more on this National Monument see: http://www.nps.gov/gero/index.htm

      DSCN0315  DSCN0318 DSCN0372 DSCN0383

    In May 2012 Donna and I travelled across Illinois on the George Rogers Clark Memorial Highway (U.S. 50), leading to the National Monument in Vincennes.  These are a few of our images of this amazing monument to this “unsung hero of the American Revolution.”

    Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, “George Rogers Clark and the West” tells the story this way: (http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm)

    Clark responded to the loss of Vincennes with his usual vigor. He gathered a force of 172 men, half of them French volunteers. On February 6, 1779, Clark started his men on their 180-mile march. At first the journey was a pleasant hike. The men were able to hunt fresh game to eat, and spirits were high.

    On February 13, Clark’s little army was only twenty miles from Vincennes when they began to feel the full force of the floods. It took two days to get across the Little Wabash River. Game animals disappeared and the men went hungry. They were now slogging through water that was sometimes up to their shoulders. Every mile forward came at the price of almost unbearable exertion. Only Clark’s indomitable will kept his men going. He placed a party in the rear with orders to shoot any man who would not press on. Men who physically collapsed were dragged along in canoes.

    Clark finally reached the vicinity of Vincennes on February 23. While his men tried to dry their clothes and ate broth made from some buffalo meat seized from an Indian woman, Clark sent word to the people of Vincennes that he was going to take the town that night. Clark intended to rely on bluff. His men were out of ammunition, and he learned that Hamilton had just been reinforced by 200 Indians. True to his word, Clark marched on the town, ordering parties of his men to parade up and down to create the illusion that he had a larger force than he actually did. The townspeople replenished Clark’s ammunition, and Hamilton’s Indians deserted him.

    Clark immediately besieged the fort, pushing to within thirty feet of the wall. Clark’s riflemen picked off Hamilton’s gunners when they tried to fire artillery from the walls. Clark called for unconditional surrender and threatened to storm the place otherwise. To illustrate the consequences, he had five Indians who had been captured with American scalps tied to their belts tomahawked within view of the fort. Hamilton surrendered with seventynine men. Another forty bringing in supplies were captured soon after.

    George Rogers Clark had achieved much with very little. He had rolled back British power in the region and helped his countrymen establish a solid foothold in the Ohio River Valley. Clark held the Illinois Country for the rest of the war, although he was never able to fulfill his ambition to attack Detroit. Men and supplies were always in too short supply. The British continued to sponsor Indian attacks that terrorized American settlements in the Ohio Valley.   SOURCE: Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D., in a piece entitled, “George Rogers Clark and the West” ; ( http://www.netplaces.com/american-revolution/the-war-on-the-frontier/george-rogers-clark-and-the-west.htm )

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    Signature of H. A. MacNeil, Sc. graces the rear of the base of this piece.

     

Here are a few images of  Independence from Hermon Atkins MacNeil for this 237th Fourth of July Day in the United States of America.

1) From Vincennes, Indiana at the George Rogers Clark National Monument, Here is a hero of the American Revolution:

MacNeil’s “George Rogers Clark” in the rotunda of the National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana (Photo credit: Dan Leininger – webmaster)

The ranger at the monument commented on the proud dignity that MacNeil’s work conveys in the face and stance of this 26 year-old Virginia patriot, Col. George Rogers Clark. (Photo: Dan Leininger ~ webmaster)

On a recent visit to the monument, the National Park Ranger commented on the pride and confidence that Hermon MacNeil placed in his rendering of Clark’s gaze and pose for this sculpture.  Clark, a Virginia Militia officer, won the approval and support of Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, to conduct a daring attack on the British in the Western frontiers.  Clark crafted, trained, and commanded a special force of two hundred frontiersman, militia, and Kentucky sharpshooters.  Their loyalty to the cause and Clark’s strategy of surprise resulted in capture of the British fortifications on the Western frontiers along the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash Rivers at Vincennes, IN; Cahokia, IL; Kaskaskia, IL  Enduring severe winter hardships, starvation, and sickness their monumental military achievement resulted in British withdrawal from the West and the surrender of territories east of the Mississippi in the Treaty of Paris in 1783. These are due in part to Clark’s Victories.  He was the oldest of a family of famous brothers.  In 1804 his brother William Clark, along with Meriwether Lewis, would explore the Louisiana Purchase west of the Mississippi for President Jefferson.

2. From New York City, Washington Square Arch. ~ “George Washington, Commander in Chief” by Hermon A. MacNeil.

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.

 

General George Washington with Flags (U.S. and POW/MIA) ~ Washington Arch Greenwich, NYC (Photo courtesy of: Gibson Shell – 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1916 the northeast statue pedestal received its Washington statue after being empty for over 20 years.

The other shelf of the Arch remained empty until 1918 when Alexander Stirling Calder’s “Washington as President” was installed.  The installation on the right is a bit confusing.  This photo was salvaged from a NYC flea market in June 2012 by John Gomez and used with his permission. John purchased this and other photos of interest to this MacNeil researcher and has graciously allowed their use by webmaster.  This ‘strange’ photo shows the MacNeil statue resting on the right-hand side of the Arch where the Calder statue would be placed two years later.  (The ladder, rope and pulleys suggest “Men at Work.”  Compare the 2012 photo to its left.)

For MacNeil this event took place the same year as the first issue of his sculpture for the U.S. Mint’s “Standing Liberty Quarter.”

For more on the Washington Arch: CLICK HERE

3. From Philadelphia, PA. “The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument.”  Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Jim Haas, author and College Point native, sent this Philadelphia shot of Hermon MacNeil’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. That is a rare shot of Jim himself, taken by Lynne, his director of public relations. : ) Jim is a Friend of HermonAtkinsMacNeil.com and a generous researcher for the website.  CLICK HERE for Jim’s Books

The second half of the American Revolution (the preservation of the Union) is commemorated in this pair of 60 foot monuments on either side of the parkway entrance.

The back of the monuments read:

~~ “ONE COUNTRY, ONE CONSTITUTION, ONE DESTINY” ~~

~~ “IN GIVING FREEDOM TO THE SLAVE,

WE ASSURE FREEDOM TO THE FREE.” ~~

HEAR & VIEW PHILADELPHIA’S PRIDE IN THIS MACNEIL ART AT:

CLICK HERE  and THEN run video by VIMEO.COM

 

FOR MORE INFO ON THESE MacNeil works see:

  1. DC Memorials – excellent photos ~ CLICK HERE
  2. Philadelphia Pride – “Soldiers & Sailors Monument” ~ by H. A. MacNeil (31.4)
  3. 75th Anniversary of the George Rogers Clark National Monument (9.2)

 

Colonel George Rogers Clark statue inside the dome of the National Memorial in Vincennes, Indiana

Today June 14th, 75 years ago, MacNeil’s statue of George Rogers Clark was dedicated by President Roosevelt:

Timeline of the Monument:

  • 1928 – May 23 President Calvin Coolidge signs bill establishing the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission.
  • 1930February 14 — Frederick C. Hirons is selected as architect of the memorial.
  • October 2 — Commission selects Erza Winter to paint the memorial murals.
  • December 1Hermon MacNeil is selected to sculpt statuary.
  • 1933 – May 26 — Contractor W R. Heath informs George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission that memorial is complete.
  • 1934April — Heath Construction Company arranges to have workers make first in a series of repairs of structure to try and stop leakage.
  • 1936June 14President Franklin D. Roosevelt participates in dedication of George Rogers Clark Memorial.

    President and Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt En route to the dedication of the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, IN, on June 14, 1936 (Knecht 4878)

 

  • President and Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • Click to view enlarged image.
  • [Photo Credit: Willard Library at http://www.willard.lib.in.us/online_resources/photography_gallery_detail.php?ID=22 ]
  • Enansville (IN) Courier & Press article :  http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/may/25/vincennes-memorials-restoration-is-75-years-in/

2009 – October 3 — Clark Memorial Rededication Ceremony, October 3, 2009.  Monument is rededicated after a 14 month repair and facelift.  StateParks.com describes it this way:

The Clark Memorial is more than 80 feet high and is 90 feet across at the base. The walls are two feet thick. The exterior is composed of granite from Vermont, Minnesota, and Alabama. Towering over the entrance is an eagle with outspread wings. Above the 16 Doric columns is an inscription which reads: “The Conquest of the West – George Rogers Clark and The Frontiersmen of the American Revolution.”

Inside the rotunda are seven murals, each created on a single piece of Belgium linen 16 feet by 28 feet. They were painted by Ezra Winter during a period of approximately two and a half years. Hermon Atkins MacNeil, designer of the Standing Liberty quarter, sculptured the bronze statue of Clark. Three of Clark’s quotations are inscribed in the memorial: “Great things have been effected by a few men well conducted;” “Our cause is just . . . our country will be grateful;” and “If a country is not worth protecting it is not worth claiming.” There are Roman numerals at three locations. Left of the steps are the numerals, 1931, the year construction of the memorial began.

Above the memorial’s entrance door are the Roman numerals for the years, 1779 and 1933. In 1779, Clark captured Fort Sackville from the British and in 1933, the memorial was completed. Clark’s birth and death years of 1752 and 1818 encircle the statue’s base.   [ from: http://www.stateparks.com/george_rogers_clark.html ]

It is highly fitting that the nation honors the great individuals and deeds of the past. Certain things do not change. The virtues that Clark and his men exhibited transcend an era. A memorial such as this serves as a reminder that courage, fortitude, and valor do not go out of style. The truly great heroes of history age well and provide guidance for the future.

MacNeil's Statue of Colonel George Rogers Clark with panorama of murals at National Monument in Vincennes, Indiana

 

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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
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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