Louis A. Warren, Litt. Dr.
Director, Lincoln National Life Foundation
Published by EDWARDS BROTHERS, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1951.
The nomination of Abraham Lincoln as the Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1860 set the stage for the most remarkable series of studies in sculptural art which America has thus far created. On the very day before the surprising victory of Lincoln at the Wigwam in Chicago a sculptor patented the first bust of the new political champion and on the very day after the news of his triumph was officially announced, the same sculptor made casts of Lincoln's hands. The bust, inspired by a life mask, and supplemented by the hands from life, have served as a primary source for all worthwhile studies in this remarkable panorama of artistic achievements. The time has arrived for any sculptor who hopes to be remembered by posterity for his expressions of creative impulse, looks forward to the day when he may present a Lincoln that will serve as his masterpiece.
The day after Lincoln succumbed at the hand of an assassin, Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, later to become president, put this observation in writing, "LincolnŐs fame is safe. He is the darling of history forevermore." Col. Hayes might just as truly have said, "He is the darling of art forevermore." He was a man whose towering frame, properly portrayed, need never be confused with others and whose profile was so distinctive that it need not suffer by comparison with those of the sages of the centuries.
Emerging from a deluge of caricatures contributed by the world famous cartoonists and used in both the political campaigns of 1860 and 1864 Lincoln as a martyr attracted the attention of serious artists who worked with stylus and chisel. It was not until 1869, however, that the first heroic bronze of Lincoln appeared and only ten of these full length portraits had been commissioned up to the close of the century. However, there had been many bust size studies of the fallen President produced during these years. The first decade of the new century presented about a dozen new studies of the First American and each succeeding decade up to 1940 brought a similar number. The busts and plaques of Abraham Lincoln increased to such an extent that a complete listing of them would be prohibitive.
Variety seems to have been achieved in the heroic presentations of Lincoln in both stone and metal. The smooth face Lincoln visualized him as student, railsplitter, lawyer, debater and presidential candidate. The bearded Lincoln stressed his administrative high spots associated with his inaugurals, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address and other episodes. Most of the statues of Abraham Lincoln and many of the better known busts are exhibited in centers of population where a maximum number of people view them from day top day. This display feature has caused many people to become especially interested in the story of Abraham Lincoln as revealed in sculptural art.
One of the most thorough and painstaking students in the field who has personally visited and photographed most of these memorials is Donald C. Durman, M.D. Ever since his childhood days he has had a live interest in the story of Abraham Lincoln. Many years ago he began putting in form for publication the facts gathered and a voluminous collection of photographs he had assembled. The results of the almost his lifetime efforts is now made available in this remarkable volume.
For many years there has been a need for a definitive work on the statues of Abraham Lincoln. I began to make a collection of photographs of the statues of Lincoln in 1916. Many of the photographs were made personally when the opportunity presented. Others were acquired in various ways when it was not possible for one or another reason to photograph the statue myself. It is well known that photography within the buildings of the federal government is not permitted, nor is it possible to make photographs in most museums. Therefore photographs of the statues in such places must be obtained through purchase. This collection began purely as part of a hobby and interest in the Lincoln theme and with no thought for publication. It was not until several years ago at the urging of several well known Lincoln scholars that the idea for completing the collection for publication began to develop. I am fully conscious of the shortcomings of the work which has done during a period of life which had to be largely devoted to the more prosaic business of earning a living in the practice of medicine.
My interest in the statues of Lincoln has a twofold basis. As a child I heard the Lincoln story and the story of the dramatic events of the Civil War from my grandparents; from a grandmother who had been born and raised in the Valley of Virginia and who had seen much of the marching and counter-marching through that valley for four years of war; from a paternal grandfather who was born in eastern Tennessee, a short distance from the old Wilderness Trail which was a thoroughfare for armies during the war; and from a maternal grandfather who had been wounded in one of the great battles. As a school boy in Indiana my interest increase when I lived and relived Lincoln's Hoosier youth. That interest has continued throughout the years in the study of the mature Lincoln's philosophy of government and the growing realization of the need for a return to his principles and their application to present day problems of government.
Secondly, interest in the statues of Lincoln has developed as part of a broad interest in art and modeling as a hobby. For this reason an attempt has been made in this work to give some authoritative estimate of each statue as a work of art.
Appreciation of any work of art, whether it be painting, music or sculpture, is much greater if one has some knowledge of the creator of the work. In studying the sculptors of Lincoln one is surprised to find how much of their own personalities have been projected into their studies of Lincoln. Therefore, more or less biographical material about each sculptor is given. In some instances this has been difficult to obtain from the usual sources and from the sculptors themselves. Others who have been queried have responded whole-heartedly, for which I am grateful.
Some of the statues would not have been created had it not been for the generosity of certain individual donors. Something of the lives of these people has also been included. It has seemed in some instances that the life of the donor was of more significance to this study than the life of the sculptor or the merit of his statue. In these instances the life of the donor has been told in considerable detail. It is significant that, like Lincoln who they honored, they also came from humble beginnings to positions of power and influence. It is fitting, therefore, to study their lives.
"Lives of great men all remind usThe admirer of Lincoln cannot stand before one of the statues of that great man without having a sense of Lincoln's presence and wondering what he may say if he were suddenly brought to life. The people who have spoken in dedicating the statues have apparently felt the same and have tried to convey to their hearers the thoughts which Lincoln might have voiced. So no collection of photographs of the statues would be complete without at least a brief reference to what was said and done when they were dedicated.
We can make our lives sublime..."
The author claims nothing original in this work. All the material has been gathered over the years from many sources, magazines, newspapers, phamplets, books, letters and personal conversations. Space would not permit acknowledgement of every source of information. Many are cited in the biographical notes.
This work would not have been possible without the assistance of many. Particular thanks is due the staff of the Saginaw Public Libraries. Many items were obtained from the files of the Lincoln National Life Foundation which are open to anyone doing research in the Lincoln field. To Dr. Louis A. Warren, Director of the Lincoln National Life Foundation, I extend my deep appreciation for his many helpful suggestions and for the information from the prolific storehouse of his mind. I am doubly grateful for the foreword by Dr. Warren. Thanks is also due Mr. Thomas L. Starr who generously made available the materials on the Lincoln statues from his collection, and for his encouragement in urging completion of the work for publication. My appreciation is also extended to Edwards Brothers for their interest and cooperation. My secretary Miss Dorothy Gettel deserves thanks for typing and retyping the manuscript many times. I gratefully acknowledge the information obtained from the sculptors and express thanks to all who have contributed photographs.
It is hoped that no statue of heroic size has been omitted. Only those busts, heads and statuettes are included which were made by sculptors who also made large statues of Lincoln or for which Lincoln is definitely known to have posed. The latter are basic.
One great sculptor of Lincoln has quoted Thomas Carlyle as having said, "I'm only a poor man, but I would give one-third of what I possess for a veritable, contemporaneous representation of Jesus Christ. Had those carvers of marble chiseled a faithful statue of the Son Of Man, as he called himself, and had shown us what the features of his sorrowing face were, I for one would have thanked the sculptor with all the gratitude of my heart for that portrait, as one of the most precious heirlooms of the ages."
This need never be said of Lincoln for the sculptors have preserved his rugged features in bronze and stone for countless ages of men to see. Lincoln will continue to be the subject for inspired sculptural art long after the names of many of the other characters of history shall have been forgotten. His countenance will continue to look out upon us from many pedestals to remind us of his character, his simplicity, his humanity.
"So stands he regnant in triumphant bronzeList of sculptures of Abraham Lincoln, as of 1951.
A spirit mastering fate by faith and love
And imagining right's lordship o'er the world-
So stands he, Heaven and Earth's great commoner,
God's and the People's, light unto the nations,
Lincoln the deathless, Lincoln the beloved."