Did You Know The Sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial Was From Exeter?
Did you know that the sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial was born in Exeter, NH? How about the Bronze statue of John Harvard in Cambridge that lives on campus at Harvard University? What about The Minute Man that lives in the Minute Man National Historical park? These are just three of the hundreds of sculptures around our country designed by Daniel Chester French who was born in Exeter, NH, according to Wikipedia.
When Daniel was 17 years old, his father moved the family from Exeter to Concord, Massachusetts, where he was neighbors to Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Alcott Family. His decision to become a sculptor was partly influenced by May Alcott, Louisa May's sister. (Did they have a shortage of names back in the 1800's?)
The Lincoln Memorial, as a whole, was designed by architect, Henry Bacon as his last work, according to Wiki. Bacon wanted our Exeter son to be the sculptor of Lincoln himself because Daniel was already famous for his work on the The Minute Man and the two men had been collaborating for 25 years or so when this project came along.
I was inspired to write this story because of these pictures of how the pandemic has affected tourism. You can see a picture of the Lincoln Memorial and how there are no people there. Weird to be sure. I remember when I visited Washington D.C., something I recommend every American to do, I was awestruck at how massive the sculpture was. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the artist was born right here on the Seacoast of NH.
Ever since I saw the sculpture in person, I have always thought, because I was told, that Daniel Chester French sculped his OWN PROFILE in the back of Lincoln's head as a memorial to himself, as the sculptor. That made a huge impression on me when I was there. You would not be able to tell that it's a profile unless you are told where to look. It's in the back of his head, worked in to Lincoln's hair.
Alas, the information that I was given may have been just a myth. I, however, saw it with my own eyes. I suppose it could have been Robert E. Lee, but it's still cool. To create a profile out of Granite that looks like a head of hair until someone points out a profile? That's cool.