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 Travels with Uncle Hermon

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

 

AT  LAST,

the UNVEILING of the

75-YEAR-OLD

PORTRAIT BUST OF

HERMON A. MACNEIL

BY Jo Davidson

ON THIS THE 155TH ANNIVERSARY OF  MacNEIL’s  BIRTH

As was Jo’s custom, the front plate is signed by the sitter, H.A.MacNeil.

The back is signed by the sculptor, as hundreds of such portrait busts

all over the United States and the world

bear the same signature of this sculptor and a date,

Jo Davidson 1945

Uncle Hermon A. MacNeil

has come home

 to this his website,

 TODAY 

February 27, 2021

the 155th Anniversary of his Birth

on February 27, 1866.

 ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~. ~

I’ve told four “Hermon & Jo” Stories in MacNeil Month 2021

Here’s the fifth one …

Early in 1945…

Jo Davidson

went back to College Point and the Studio of

 Hermon A. MacNeil

where Jo first learned studio work

from the atlier of Hermon MacNeil,

with Henri Crenier and John Gregory 

teasing him mercilessly as the studio boy

While Hermon MacNeil showed Jo through

the menial chores of the studio,

how to work clay, build an armature, make a mold,

and see the stages of making a plaster model

to become a piece that will be cast in bronze.

And thereby flame Jo’s natural talent & burning desire

to become a  sculptor.

And through his gentle personality and kindness,

MacNeil showed Jo respect

and filled some of Jo’s early void of approval

being a FATHER FIGURE unlike Jo’s own Father,

and MacNeil also affirmed Jo’s early exhibit FIGURE of

“David”, the Jewish Boy, fighting an invisible GOLIATH.

And then decades later when

Jo Davidson’s fame and career

had eclipsed even that of MacNeil

or any of his altier assistantsJohn Gregory or Henri Crenier

Jo chose to return to honor his first teacher

by sculpting him in clay

and immortalizing him in BRONZE.

AND NOW WE KNOW, THAT IS JUST WHAT

HE DID !

This bust is Just Gorgeous
An amazing piece and
a more amazing discovery —
for me and this website 
after being out of view
for over 70 years.
 
We  just  Love  IT !  
[Dan Neil Leininger: webmaster]
 

 

 
JO DAVIDSON’S LETTER OF SYMPATHY
  • On Nov. 6, 1947. Jo sent letter of sympathy to Cecelia MacNeil, Hermon’s widow expressing his heartbreak at Hermon’s passing
 
INTERESTING FACTS in this letter:
  • Jo Davidson made this sculpture in the year 1945.
  • He shares his heartbreak over the death.
  • He remembers Hermon’s happiness
  • He will exhibit the bust for the Art World to see & remember
  • He wants Cecelia to come the Exhibition and see the bust.
  • Jo and Flo invited Cecelia to their home for her to visit.
Cecelia was an RN
 
— an Army Nurse during WW I
She nursed Carol Brooks until she died
on July 22, 1944.
 
She nursed Hermon as well four years later until he died
on October 2, 1947.
 
 
 PERSONAL FACTS:
  • I am DANIEL NEIL LEININGER. My middle name comes from  my mother’s maiden name — McNeil.
  • I was born in 1945 the same year this bust was made.

    (June 30, 1945 Daniel Neil Leininger is born in Saint Louis, Missouri)
  • I am the same age as the bust. (just not as good looking)!
  • I was 27 months-old when Hermon died.  I never saw Hermon MacNeil’s face until this BUST arrived.
 
 
Curious QUESTIONs: 
  1. SO did JO make this portrait Bust of HERMON in Jan to April 1945, or NOV-DEC, 1945?
  2. Before or after his 2nd Heart attack in San Francisco?
 
 
 TIMELINE around Jo’s Bust of
 
Hermon MacNeil 
 
TIMELINE of Events when Bust was made:
SourceBetween Sittings … pp. 344-346. (Events from Jo’s narrative. Some public dates filled in)
  • April 12, 1945  Franklin D. Roosevelt died. Jo got the call at Lahaska that afternoon. Jo had known FDR since 1933 when he sculpted the first bust of him White House.  He sculpted two inaugural Medals for FDR.
  • April 18, 1945  Ernie Pyle killed in action.  Jo made his bust in 1942
  • April 22, 1945  Jo Davidson and Florence travel (fly) to Los Angeles., Says he is  exhausted. Jo is distressed self-dosing on nitroglycerin tablets
  • April 24, 1945  Jo Davidson has a 2nd heart attack on the opening evening of the United Nations Conference. 
  • April 25, 1945 Jo Davidson is in St. Mary”s Hospital in San Francisco under an oxygen tent.
  • April 25, 1945 to June 26, 1945 — United Nations Organizational Conference in San Francisco
  • Aug. 14, 1945  Florence tells Jo of Victory-in-Japan Day news report on radio in while he remains in hospital.
  • Sept. – Oct. 1945  For the next Two months Jo was recouping at the Ranch of Ralph Stagpole in Cloverdale CA.  The Stagpoles took in Jo, his nurse, and Florence and helped him get back to health.
  • Oct. 1945. Jo and Flossie returned to their home in Lahaska, NY
  • Nov. 6, 1947. Jo sends letter of sympathy to Cecelia MacNeil, Hermon’s widow expressing his heart break at Hermon’s passing
  • Oct. 2, 1947  DEATH:  Hermon Atkins MacNeil dies at his home in College Point.
  • Nov. 25, 1947 BUST EXHIBITED  ~~ National Institute of Arts and Letters – Retrospective Exhibition of Jo Davidson’s Work.  This bust was a part of that Exhibition
  • 1951  Jo Davidson’s health continues to deteriorate
  • 1951  Jo’s friends Andre Gide & Robert Flaherty died … and Sinclair Lewis
  • Jan. 2, 1952  Jo Davidson dies at his home in Becheron, France.
FYI
 I have ordered a plain black wooden pillar stand (30′ X 12″ X 12″).   It will offer a fitting display for this wonderful tribute to
Hermon A. MacNeil (1866-1947)
Beaux Arts sculptor of Indians and Monuments
 
 
 
 

HERMON MacNEIL AS HE APPEARED ABOUT 1945

Hermon Atkins MacNeil ~ About 1945 ~ when Jo Davidson sculpted him.  Seated outside of his studio in College Point, Queens, NYC. [ Credit: Kenilworth Historical Society donated by Joel Rosenkranz of Conner – Rosenkranz, LLC. ]

 

“Abraham Lincoln” with Marian Fretueg (right) and head librarian (left) greeted us at Rushville Public Library.

My previous posting on May 13, 2019 (CLICK HERE) shared another discovery of this website.  Namely, for nearly a century an additional “Lincoln Lawyer” bust has made its a home on the Illinois prairie in Rushville.

Well, I could not resist a visit there.  So, I took a side trip to Rushville on a recent vacation voyage through my old home state of Illinois.

And guess what I found? Ta Dah!

Another of Hermon MacNeil’s “Lincoln Lawyer” was found at the Rushville (Illinois) Public Library. The happy webmaster was pleased to see it and meet the Library staff

 

I am sure you recognize Abe Lincoln.  Well the guy smilin’ on the right is me, Dan Leininger [the “happy webmaster of https://hermonatkinsmacneil.com/ ].

Rushville is county seat of Schuyler County. The ‘new’ Public Library is located about seven  blocks north of the downtown.  The concrete sidewalks, driveway, and parking lot give easy access to walk-up, drive-up, or pedal-up traffic. The Stone and buff-brick building is clean, inviting with open access to all stacks.

Marian Fretueg a board member and volunteer (pictured on far right), sent an email inquiring about my knowledge of this bust by Hermon A. MacNeil.

Marian asked the Library Board for permission to publish the re-discovery of the “Lawyer Lincoln” bust on this website.

She said that the donor of the bust was Albert Morris Bagby of New York City.  He grew up in Rushville, Illinois and became a successful musician studying with Franz Liszt. She said, “He left our little town and studied in Germany and then ended settling in New York City.”

Mr. Bagby had the bust shipped to Rushville in 1928 to be temporarily placed at the city’s library for the enjoyment of all the patrons.  Marian stated, “For some reason or other, the sculpture was never moved from our library.   It is now proudly on display in the new building for the Rushville Public Library. 

Bagby began his “Musical Morning” show in 1891 at his own private studio at 152 W. 57th Street. MacNeil later taught at the Art Students League of New York located in the American Fine Arts Building, one block away, at 215 West 57th Street,Several years later he moved it to the Waldorf-Astoria, the Unofficial Palace of New York, located on 34th Street at 5th Avenue. His life story is a fascinating one.  CLICK HERE:

I suspect that there must have been some connection between Hermon MacNeil and Mr. Bagby. MacNeil had studios in Manhattan, NYC. Maybe we could link the histories of these two men.  That would make a great story to research the two men and the possible intersection of their lives.

Hermon sculpted many statues and monuments around NYC. He also did private work with many persons of prominence there.  

Mr. Bagby. He obviously donated many items to his hometown through the years. His heart never seemed to lose affection for his home town.  Rushville may not have been fully aware of the “treasure” that their native son left them in the “Lawyer Lincoln.”  Perhaps the new Rushville Public Library home can raise community awareness and pride in this treasure and history. 

Bagby, Albert Morris, 1859-1941

Biographical notes:

Albert Morris Bagby was born in Rushville, Illinois on April 29, 1859 to Mary Agnes Scripps of Jackson, Missouri and John Courts Bagby from Glasglow, Kentucky. After completing his primary education in the United States, Bagby traveled to Europe to study music.

He first studied under Professor Scharwenka at the Berlin Conservatory and later with Franz Liszt in Weimar. Before Bagby died in 1941, he was considered one of the last links to Mr. Liszt. Though never a virtuoso performer himself, Bagby was an ardent admirer and pupil of the great pianist and so devoted his life to the patronage of music and performance. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941)

After returning from Europe, Bagby was invited to give music lectures at various socialite clubs in New York. These lectures, often with piano accompaniment, turned into luxurious concerts. At first Bagby sought to call his recitals “Matinee Musicale,” but at the urging of his friend, Miss Louise McAllister, the name was changed to “Musical Morning.” (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 99)

The first official Musical Morning was held in 1891 at Bagby’s own private studio at 152 W. 57th Street in New York. The concert series was so popular that a larger space was needed. (Emanuel Feuerman, p.89) Bagby refused to rent public music halls, which he felt would destroy the personal and intimate nature of the performance. Fortunately, an ideal site for performance and private society presented itself when a new hotel opened its doors on 5th Avenue and 34th Street. The Waldorf-Astoria (on 34th Street, and then in 1929 its new location) became the new home of Bagby’s Musical Morning, remaining so until its end in 1941. (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 97,100)

Following each Musical Morning (which were attended by subscription only), Bagby would host a lunch for a few dozen of his most notable guests. Conversing easily with royalty, socialites and skilled musicians, Bagby became a popular figure in the social life of Europe and America. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941)

Offering performances by almost every distinguished artist in the United States, Bagby succeeded in both providing elite entertainment and funds for The Bagby Music Lovers’ Foundation, Inc. The foundation, established at the 300th Musical Morning in January, 1925 was set up to give pensions to elderly musicians as a “reward for their unforgettable service to music.” (The Unofficial palace of New York, p. 95, 101)

In addition to his life work with Musical Morning, Bagby also traveled to Europe quite extensively, attending performances at Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth Festival and visiting friends.

While living at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, Bagby received hundreds of letters and postcards from the European royal families who had attended his performances and seen him in Europe. Most of the letters thanked Bagby for his kindness and generous gifts.

With most of Europe in turmoil after the Second World War, it was often difficult to purchase books and magazines in English. Bagby, being the generous individual that he was, acted almost as a courier service, sending books, encyclopedias, and subscriptions to National Geographic and The Spur to various European royal families. The missives also contained personal notes about the family’s wellbeing, and a request that Bagby visit next time he was in Europe.

Besides being a musician, Bagby was also a writer. When he was younger he contributed to various periodicals, and in 1895 published his first novel, a musical romance entitled Miss Traumerei. In 1904 he wrote Mamie Rosie, a fictional account a young musician’s journey to stardom.

Later in life Bagby gave back to his home town by donating various volumes, statues and paintings to the Rushville Public Library. Albert Morris Bagby died of pneumonia on February 27, 1941 at the age of 81, ending his five-decade career as director of Musical Morning. (Time Magazine, March 10, 1941).

  • From the description of [Albert Morris Bagby collection]. 1890-1960. (Pritzker Military Library). WorldCat record id: 236876955 http://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6s76w29

  • The Unofficial Palace of New York: A Tribute to the Waldorf-Astoria, hardcover – 1939 by Frank Crowninshield (Author).

 

 

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow”.

Here’s a quick shot of MacNeil’s “Sun Vow” with yours truly camera in hand.

I had the privilege of visiting the MAM site this week and will post a  larger story soon.  For now, here’s an editorial by Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week Curator

It demonstrates a strong strain of public opinion in Montclair, NJ, concerning the “Sun Vow” a gift of Wm T. Evans. Montclair citizens have viewed and driven by this MacNeil original for over 100 years. What follows below is a re-posting of a Patch Montclair facebook page: ( https://patch.com/new-jersey/montclair/respecting-sun-vow )

Montclair Op-Ed: ‘Respecting The Sun Vow’

Regarding the Montclair Art Museum’s landscape re development proposal for the Planning Board Meeting Monday August 26 at 7:30 PM

By Frank Gerard Godlewski | | Updated

This post was contributed by a community member.
 
Montclair Op-Ed: Respecting The Sun Vow
Hermon Atkins MacNeil (1866-1947), The Sun Vow, 1899 (cast 1902), Bronze, 68 x 45 x 29 in., Gift of William T. Evans, 1913
MONTCLAIR, NJ — The following article comes courtesy of a Montclair Patch community member. Learn more about posting announcements or events to your local Patch site.The Montclair Art Museum is a cultural landscape masterpiece conceived by the visionary founding planners of our community. Today, it is an important cultural focal point and should continue to thrive and develop. It would be “bad grammer” however, within it’s dialogue with the community, for the Museum to erase our culteral/artistic legasy and its symols from our collective memory’s landscape..The Museum’s re development proposal calls for the removal of the “Sun Vow” statue which is one of the earliest art pieces collected by William T. Evans, the museum’s founder (1909). The statute, placed on its erratic naturalistic rock, occupies a prominent location in the historic landscape as does the Lebanese Cedar tree that was cultivated and planted by the local landscape design visionary Howard Van Vleck. The plan proposes to remove the existing tree and historic sculpture to create a reflecting pond and a new commissioned sculpture.The founders of the museum inteded to preserve our natural beauty and our cultural heritage. The Sun Vow statue is a symbol from our cultural past. Montclair, once the home of the Lenne Lenape has lost most of its native american symbols, except perhaps or the names like Watchung and Yanticaw. Dianne Lewis, NY architect stated at her Montclair Art Museum presentation “Why Montclair is Montclair” that “Montclair is a mystical visionary landscape that preserves the ghosts of the Native Americans. It has a tragic dimension. Montclair is not an ordinary suburban condition, it is like Fiesole in Tuscany and a becon of light seen from the distance.”The intention of Mr. Evans was to place the Sun Vow piece infront of the building so that it could be enjoyed by passers by from the street as well as the grounds. Why change that?

 
Museum’s founders were components of the Municipal Arts Commission who intended to preserve the natural beauty of Montclair with the creation of the first 1906 Master Plan.A 1902 Montclair Times Article about the Sun Vow statue states:”Object of the municipal art commission. The objective of this commission shall be to promote in all practical ways the beautifying of Montclair, to preserve the distinctive charm of the country town, and to exert influence to the end that the principle of local fitness shall be served in public and private improvements, to consider the probable future development of Montclair, and to plan for meeting it’s needs. To influence a just appreciation of the value of art in daily life and to encourage and promote the public and private use and patronage of good art in Montclair. Montclair is fortunate in having one of the notable groups of recent statuary permanently placed where our people may enjoy it. Mr. William T Evans who has brought to Montclair his choice collection of works of painters, has just placed upon his grounds the bronze group by H. A. McNeil, which received the highest award of the gold medal at Buffalo, and a silver medal at the Paris exposition. The group represents (an Indian) a native American boy taking the sun test, which is to decide whether he shall be classed with them the men of the tribe or shall go back to play with the children.… Mr. Evans, appropriate use of a great bolder of the massive granitoid gneiss of our New Jersey Highlands, as a pedestal for the group makes it easy to imagine the test on a rugged hilltop in the blazing glare of the midday sun. … The bolder was found by Mr. James Owen at Singac. It weighs 12 tons and was brought to Montclair upon a truck drawn by 12 horses.”The removal of the “Sun Vow” statue, a gift to the community from the museum’s founder as well as the proposed changes to the front yard of the museum subtract from our cultural patrimony. With the current local trends of re development, our collective memory of the township and its original beauty is disappearing. All you have to do is look down Bloomfield Avenue to see these aesthetic changes.The front yard of the Museum is a very important part of our cultural legacy. It is an icon ingrained in our community’s collective memory. Each element in front of the facade has a significance. The museum’s founders intentions and the valuable historic landscape should be respected and remain as a learning tool of our original cultural legacy to teach to the new generations to come.Frank Gerard Godlewski, Historian & NY Armory Arts Week CuratorDon’t forget to visit the Patch Montclair Facebook page. Send local news tips and correction requests to eric.kiefer@patch.com

May 8th I will be able to complete a “bucket list” check-off by visiting the “Coming of the White Man”.

This photo shows the upper base of the statue as part of the casting itself with the name sculpted into the base. This sits on the boulder that MacNeil crafted for the setting from Columbia River granite.

Post Card of 1905 Statue before the oak branch was broken. MacNeil selected the stone for the base and supervised its delivery from the quarry to the hill where it was hauled up by a four horse team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to take my own photos of the Statue in its Washington Park setting.  I have told MacNeil’s stories of this piece, but have never had the pleasure of seeing it myself and spending time there. 

Other posts related to the “The Coming of the White Man”  [Click HERE]

More to come after May 8th.

 

DSCN4192

A model of the railroad station built for the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris. The building is the present day Musee d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay in the center of Paris was originally built as the railroad station for the Universal Exposition of 1900. MacNeil and his contemporary sculptors exhibited and received prizes in that competition.

It now is a Museum.   Sculptures made by MacNeil’s teachers are a part of the exhibits.  MacNeil had many teachers in Paris  at the Ecole Des Beau Arts. Below are the signatures of A [Alexandre] Falguiere and H [Henri] Chapu from two of their marble sculptures.

DSCN4121DSCN4109

Alexandre Falguiere (1831 – 1900)

Falguiere’s sculpture of Tarcisius was completed in 1867 when MacNeil was just 1 year old.

Alexandre Falguiere (1831-1900), Tarcisius, martyr chretien, 1867

Alexandre Falguiere (1831-1900), Tarcisius, martyr chretien, 1867

DSCN4129

Falguiere placed Christian symbols on has interpretation of the young martyr: Two doves of peace, olive branches, alpha and omega, and a cross of the chi-rho letters.

DSCN4132 DSCN4130 DSCN4119

Henri Chapu (1833-1891)

A beautiful feature of Chapu’s work graces the Musee d’Orsay — Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc a’ Domremy 1870.DSCN4110

DSCN4114 DSCN4104

DSCN4113

Jeanne dArc A Domrem by Henri Chapu 1870

Jeanne dArc A Domremy by Henri Chapu 1870

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