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 Lorado Taft

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.

Carol Brooks MacNeil - 1907 - Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

Carol Brooks MacNeil – 1907 – Twelve years after her marriage to Hermon

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch - Chicago-Sun

H.A.MacNeil ~1895 sketch – The Sun (New York City)

On Christmas Day one dozen decades ago, Hermon A. MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were married in Chicago, Illinois.  The pair were both sculptors who met while working on the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair.

Carol was a student of Lorado Taft and became one of the White Rabbits. These female sculptors were hired (commissioned) to help finish the 100’s of sculptures needed to finish the buildings, fountains, arcades, for the White City of the Chicago Worlds Fair.  

Previous postings celebrate this MacNeil-Brooks Wedding:

  1. Christmas Day Wedding for Two Young Sculptors! Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks

  2. “The Most Happy Young Man I Know” ~ Hermon A. MacNeil ~ Success & Marriage!
  3. Christmas Day Wedding for Two Young Sculptors! Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks

  4. MacNeil’s Chicago Wedding
Eda Lord's Chicago World's Fair Ticket from 'Chicago Day.' Her great-great grandson, Jim Dixon found it an a box of her memobilia from the era when she bought her MacNeil sculpture.

Eda Lord’s Chicago World’s Fair Ticket from ‘Chicago Day.’ (Her great-great grandson, Jim Dixon found it an a box of her memobilia from the era when she bought her MacNeil sculpture.)

I sit here in Chicago during this Christmas Season, imagining a Christmas wedding ceremony one hundred and nineteen years ago.

~

On Christmas Eve day in 1895, Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks purchased a Cook County license to solemnize their marriage. The very next day, Christmas 1895, they shared their vows before God and a Congregational minister named, Edward F. Williams, here in Chicago.  The record looks like this:

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 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.

Both Hermon and Carol were sculptors. Hermon had completed 4 bronze relief sculpture panels for the new Marquette Building. They had fellow friends among the art community, sculptor colleagues from the  Chicago World’s Fair, students and teachers from the Art Institute of Chicago, and “White Rabbits” team of women sculptors.  We don’t have any record of who might have witnessed their nuptials.

~

But it was Christmas Day, a time when families gather.  Hermon’s family was far away in Massachusetts. Carol’s was born in Chicago and studied there at the Art Institute with Lorado Taft working on the 1893 Worlds Fair with her “White Rabbit” colleagues. Perhaps some friends or family were present or even hosted some wedding celebration. Her parents were close enough to be present, but no evidence suggests that.  It appears to have been a quick, quiet, modest ceremony.  The less than a one-day turn around on their marriage license would support that.  In addition, we know that they sailed a week later for Rome and Hermon’s Roman Reinhart Scholarship studies there. A  December 22, 1895 – New York Sun, article (CLICK HERE) supports that as well as a letter from Amy Ardis Bradley [ CLICK for MORE ]

~

New York Sun December 22, 1895 "The Reinhart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins Macneil of Chicago"

New York Sun December 22, 1895 “The Reinhart Prize Winner ~ Hermon Atkins Macneil of Chicago”

The officiating minister, Rev. Edward (Franklin) Williams appears to have been a prominent clergy described as “a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.” Source: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana )  He wrote Carol’s name as “Carrie” in his handwritten certification on the bottom of the license.  She went by ‘Carrie’ among her friends.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams considered her a ‘friend’ we do not know.  Philip Khopf, the Cook County clerk, wrote ‘Carol’ in the top portion of the certificate.  Rev. Williams could have copied “Carol” from the official record above, but chose to use ‘Carrie’ instead.  The license lists Carol as being 24 years of age and Hermon as 29.  We know that the minister was 63 years of age when he led their ceremony.  Until 1891 he was pastor of the South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago.  For health reasons he had “an extended stay abroad (June, 1891 to July, 1893), primarily in Germany, where he pursued studies in Berlin.” Returning to Chicago he studied and lectured at Chicago Theological Seminary during 1894.

 ~

Whether Rev. Williams had some previous knowledge with Carrie and Hermon or was a friend of the family, is uncertain.  He seemed very connected to the Chicago community and many of the potential benefactors of the arts. At a minimum, his use of “Carrie” seems to indicate a ‘cordial’ style of ministry and interaction. It also seems consistent with his servant-attitude toward needs of the soldiers and wounded he encountered during the Civil War.

~

CLICK HERE for more Links and info about Hermon and Carrie’s marriage in 1895:

~

More biographical information on Rev. Williams is offered below.

Williams, Edward Franklin (1832-1919)

 Historical Note: Edward Franklin Williams was a Congregational minister, educator, field agent for the United States Christian Commission, missionary, and writer.  Edward Franklin Williams was born in Massachusetts in 1832, the son of Delilah Morse Williams and George Williams. Williams attended Yale University from 1852 to 1856, and he continued to earn an advanced degree from Yale. He later attended the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he graduated and earned his license to preach in 1861.Williams was exempt from the draft due to a tubercular condition in his lungs, and thus he did not fight in the Civil War. In April 1863, Williams received a commission as a field agent for the United States Christian Commission. With the Commission, he served two and a half years in the armies of the Potomac and the James.After the war, Williams was sent as principal to begin was became the Lookout Mountain Educational Institutions in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1867, Williams was appointed by the American Missionary Association to teach in the Normal and Preparatory Division of what was later Howard University. He left Howard to preach at several churches in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York, ultimately serving as pastor of Tabernacle Church in Chicago and Forty-Seventh Street Congregational Church, which later became South Congregational Church, in suburban Chicago, where he served until 1891.By 1880, Williams was writing a monthly column for The Congregationalist under a pen name, “Franklin.” He continued writing for this publication until 1908. He continued as a prolific writer, particularly in the 1890s.

From 1901 to 1911 Williams served as pastor of the Evanston Ave. Congregational Church in Chicago. Williams died in 1919 in Chicago.

[ Sources: Edward Franklin Williams papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana ]

 

 

HAM-Lincoln-bust-plaster-full

Finishing touches clean the marble niche where MacNeil’s Lincoln bust will greet Illini students in Lincoln Hall

A 1958 photo of lawyer Abe Lincoln as he appeared at the time of the debates with Senator Stephen Douglas

A 1958 photo of lawyer Abe Lincoln (with NO beard) as he appeared at the time of the debates with Senator Stephen Douglas and as MacNeil portrayed him.

Hermon MacNeil’s bronze bust of self-educated Illinois Lawyer Abe Lincoln was returned to its gloriously restored niche in Lincoln Hall on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana to begin its second century on the Illinois Circuit of higher education.

The Smithsonian Institute archives contain this photo of MacNeil's Lincoln standing.

MacNeil’s standing Lincoln model from the Smithsonian Institute photo archives. The piece was made for a commission competition after 1906.

MacNeil originally sculpted a full length, standing model of the Illinois Lawyer that he later re-sculpted as a bust. From that piece he had Roman Bronze Works make eight castings of his Lincoln Lawyer. In 1928 at the recommendation of Lorado Taft, the University of Illinois purchased this one of the MacNeil sculptures of the younger Lincoln

In 1929, MacNeil’s work provided an iconic centerpiece for the Grand Stairway foyer of newly designed building.  On February 12, 2012, the restored bust was returned to its original niche, in the beautifully renovated Lincoln Hall.

For MORE history on the “Lawyer Lincoln” CLICK HERE

PHOTOS and MORE:  The lead photo above and three photos below are from the website of the Lincoln Hall Renovation (CLICK HERE) project at the University of Illinois.  They show the re-installation of MacNeil’s work.  The University has now completed the $66.4 million dollar restoration (Fact Sheet) of Lincoln Hall.  [SEE MORE MacNeil-Lincoln history below the photos]:

MacNeil's restored bust of young Abe Lincoln was bolted to a marble plate that could be cemented into place.

MacNeil’s restored bust of young Abe Lincoln was bolted to a marble plate that could be cemented into place.

 

The work crew of masons set the MacNeil's Lincoln bust back into the niche at the Grand Staircase of Lincoln Hall

The work crew of masons set the MacNeil’s Lincoln bust back into the niche at the Grand Staircase of Lincoln Hall

HAM-Lincoln-bust-sweep-full

A worker sweeps the marble stairs of Lincoln Hall foyer as photographers get set to record the return of Hermon MacNeil’s bust of young Lawyer Abe Lincoln to its perch where a second century of Illini students will pass by.

Art and museum records locate four of MacNeil’s eight “Lincoln Lawyer” castings. the  others “Lincoln Lawyer” busts by MacNeil appear incomplete as follows:

The fact that MacNeil made a “Lincoln Lawyer” statue was catalogued 60 years ago, along with the Lincoln likenesses sculpted by over 125 other sculptors.   Donald Charles Durman assembled a “List of Sculptures of Abraham Lincoln” in his 1951 book, “He Belongs to the Ages: The Statues of Abraham Lincoln” (published by Edwards Brothers, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951).  The Smithsonian American Art Museum inventory lists only 3 locations of MacNeil’s other Lincoln busts.  The University of Illinois bust of Lincoln is NOT listed among them.  Thus, four of the eight are documented publicly.  The Smithsonian records indicate the following listings:
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Office of the Curator, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Control_Number: 77001611
  2. Beloit College, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, Wisconsin – Control_Number: 75008855
  3. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts: Control_Number: 20090014
  4. Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002 Accession Number: S.1932.4            Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum ~ SIRIS

~ Christmas Day 1895 ~

In 1895, Amy Aldis Bradley wrote of Hermon MacNeil:

“…The young sculptor was married on Christmas Day, and sailed for Rome on Wednesday, and is, on the whole, the most happy young man I know. (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

One hundred and seventeen years ago today,  Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Carol Louise Brooks were united in marriage in Chicago, Illinois by Rev. Edward F. Williams, a Congregational Minister.  They purchased their Marriage License on Christmas Eve Day 1895. [CLICK HERE to See their License]

HAM-sketch-CD3Both Hermon and Carol were sculptors who worked on the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition).  Just days earlier MacNeil received word that he had won the Rinehart Roman Scholarship.  (Carol had also studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies).  Within the week, the pair left for Rome, passing three years there (1896-1899).  It was a romantic time of  study together under the same masters.  With frugality, the income of Hermon’s Rinehart scholarship supported them both.  They travelled through Italy occasionally bartering a room for sculpture.  They spend a fourth year in Paris.”  

According to information from the MacArthur Foundation (current owner and curator of the Marquette Building), Amy Aldis Bradley’s complete words in 1895 to Peter Brooks:

After commissioning MacNeil for the exterior bronzes, Aldis wrote to Peter Brooks, “McNeil’s [sic] panels are being placed in position. It is greatly to their and his credit that these bas-reliefs have won for him the Roman [Reinhart] Fellowship. The Commission, choosing him as the best of the very young men…The young sculptor was married on Christmas Day, and sailed for Rome on Wednesday, and is, on the whole, the most happy young man I know. He is very grateful to the owners of the Marquette Building.” (http://marquette.macfound.org/slide/herman-macneil/ )

Eda Lord's Chicago World's Fair Ticket from 'Chicago Day.' Her great-grandson, Jim Dixon found it an a box of memorabilia from the era when she bought her MacNeil sculpture.

Eda Lord, (the woman who purchased the MacNeil bronze statue, “Primitive Indian Music” ~ 1894), attended the World’s Columbian Exposition on “Chicago Day.”  Jim Dixon sent us a scan of his great-grandmother’s actual Ticket to the Chicago World’s Fair.

Eda Lord was not alone.  Chicago Day was packed. A total of 716,881 people attended for “Chicago Day,” October 9, 1893.  That day commemorated the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The ‘Chicago Day’ marked Chicago’s rebirth. 

Every day of the Chicago World’s Fair marked the city’s arrival on the world-scene. While New York City, Washington, D.C., and St.Louis, had all competed for this ‘Columbian’ 400-year-extravaganza, Chicago won the honors (and labors). The CWE invited America to come take notice that this western-railroad-cattletown was now a cultural-financial center.  Like Columbus himself, the European “Old World” of art and architecture had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and resurrected in this “New World” of American progress, industry, and prosperity.   Now along the shore of this inland Great Lake a “White City” fantasy had emerged.  Crafted from the hands, talents, and imaginations  of American “Beaux Arts” artists, sculptors and architects.

"Chicago Day" Crowds -- October 9, 1893 -- 716,881 people attended that day which commemorated the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. (http://www.chicagohs.org/history/expo.html)

And like Eda Lord, from all over the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia and the world, they came. In total, over 27,000,000 million people attended the entire 1893 Columbia International Exposition.  That number was half of the US population of 54 million then. 

I told Jim Dixon that just seeing his Great-Grandmother Eda’s ticket made me wonder:

  1. How old was Eda Lord when she attended the Fair?
  2. Who would she go with?
  3. Would a lady attend alone?
  4. She lived in Evanston, north of the city. She could have rode the train from there in less than an hour into the “White City”.
  5. She might have passed the “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show” on her way to the main Gate.

Here is what Jim told us about the ticket:

Daniel –

I started pouring through the boxes of family history tonight.  I have a long way to go, but I found something that is perhaps a clue.  Of all things, Eda Lord saved a ticket stub from the World’s Columbian Exposition for “Chicago Day” on Oct 9th  1893.  The ticket is numbered and obviously a part was torn off.  It is in perfect shape.   Attached is a scan of the ticket.  Much more exploring to do and I will send along anything relevant that I find.

Jim Dixon

Well Jim, You have quite a find!  That is a valuable souvenir. And a family history keepsake.

HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL:

Hermon MacNeil was there as well.  For three years he worked on drawings, plans and sculpture. 

"Primitive Indian Music" Hermon A. MacNeil 1894, 24 inches, bronze. Purchased by Eda Lord about 1894-5.

MacNeil sculpted figures on the Electricity building (MORE HERE). He was only 27 years old then. He had returned from study in Paris from about 1888 – 1890. He came to Chicago to work with Phillip Martiny.  Some say he stopped in New York to get a letter of recommendation from August Saint-Gaudens to give to Martiny in Chicago. 

A hundred or more artists sculpted the White City.  Many would be MacNeil’s contemporaries and colleagues through his life. Carol Brooks, who Hermon MacNeil would marry two years later, was also one of the women sculptors called in at the last months to finish the plaster-staff statues that adorned the Fair. (Carol  had studied sculpture with both Lorado Taft and Frederick William MacMonnies) Carol was also a member of “The White Rabbits” ~ a self-christened group of women sculptors called in to complete the massive work load of ‘staff’ statues needed for the Chicago Fair in 1893. ).
Also to see my post CLICK HERE (look for their ‘Marriage’ paragraph.)

HERE ARE CLOSE-UP PHOTOS THAT SUGGEST THAT THIS “Primitive Indian Music” PIECE WAS AN EARLY PROTO-TYPE OF THE “PRIMITIVE CHANT” STATUE (WHICH WAS MUCH MORE REFINED AND POLISHED IN ITS CASTING FINISH.)

It is also based on “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave. MacNeil first saw Black Pipe at the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show and we know that he returned many times to study the Indians.  ( I have ordered two books on Buffalo Bills Wild West Show, the Indians, conditions, treatment etc.) 

We will return to the story of “Black Pipe”, the young Sioux Brave.  Perhaps, like MacNeil, we will return many times.  ~~  DNL

Facial roughness of "Primitive Indian Music" bronze cast from 1894 suggests it is an early MacNeil attempt. His 1901 casts of "Primitive Chant" are more polished.

Sculpting marks on thigh and hip of 1894 "Primitive Indian Music" bronze cast suggest it is an early MacNeil attempt. His 1901 casts of "Primitive Chant" are more polished.

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