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Source: American Review of Reviews
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “McKinley Memorials in Sculpture”
Author(s): Brush, E. H.
Date of publication: October 1907
Volume number: 36
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 467-71

Brush, E. H. “McKinley Memorials in Sculpture.” American Review of Reviews Oct. 1907 v36n4: pp. 467-71.
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McKinley memorial (Canton, OH); McKinley memorial (Buffalo, NY); McKinley memorialization; McKinley memorial (Columbus, OH).
Named persons
Robert Ingersoll Aitken [middle initial wrong below]; John M. Carrere; Walter Cook; Leon Czolgosz; Millard Fillmore; Daniel Chester French; Ulysses S. Grant; Charles H. Hackley; Charles Evans Hughes; Isidore Konti; Alice Roosevelt Longworth; Charles Albert Lopez; Augustus Lukeman; Hermon A. MacNeil [first name misspelled below]; Harold Van Buren Magonigle; Philip Martiny; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Charles Henry Niehaus; Robert S. Peabody; A. Phimister Proctor [misspelled in note below]; Theodore Roosevelt.
This article includes photographs and illustrations, captioned as follows:
  • The M’Kinley Mausoleum, Canton, Ohio. Designed by H. Van Buren Magonigle. [p. 467]
  • Lunette for the M’Kinley Mausoleum, Canton, Ohio. Charles Henry Niehaus, Sculptor. [p. 468]
  • The M’Kinley Statue in Front of the Mausoleum, Canton, Ohio. Charles Henry Niehaus, Sculptor. [p. 468]
  • The M’Kinley Monument, Buffalo, N. Y. (Dedicated on September 5, 1907. A. Phinister [sic] Proctor, sculptor of animal groups at the base. John M. Carrère, architect.) [p. 469]
  • The M’Kinley Memorial, Springfield, Mass. By Philip Martiny. [p. 470]
  • “The Tribute of the People.” (Group on the McKinley memorial, Columbus, Ohio. H. A. MacNeil, sculptor; Lord & Hewlett, architects.) [p. 471]
  • “Prosperity,—Through Work and Study.” (Group on the McKinley memorial, Columbus, Ohio. H. A. MacNeil, sculptor; Lord & Hewlett, architects.) [p. 471]


McKinley Memorials in Sculpture

THE month of September was that in which President William McKinley met his death at Buffalo, in the year of the Pan-American Exposition, 1901. This month in 1907 was therefore appropriately chosen for the dedication of the two most notable memorials yet erected in his honor, that at Buffalo and that at Canton, the first a monument of chaste and simple character, the second a noble mausoleum, a fitting resting place for the mortal part of the third martyr President.
     The mausoleum at Canton was erected at a cost of over $500,000, through the efforts of the McKinley National Memorial Association. This association raised, through popular subscriptions from all over the country, more than $600,000, of which sum $100,000 was set aside as a fund to be used in the maintenance of the mausoleum and its surroundings. The stately tomb stands upon the summit of a hill, on the borders of the beautiful Westlawn Cemetery, and in the center of a tract of land twenty-six acres in extent, owned by the association and laid out by it with the view of enhancing the general effect of the memorial erected as the resting place of President and Mrs. McKinley. As a portal to the patriotic Mecca there is a circular plaza, surrounded by a parapet wall, and directly in front of the mausoleum is a basin, more than 500 feet in length, known technically as the long water. Steps rise from this basin to the tomb itself and the latter is reflected in the smooth water below as in a great mirror. The steps constitute a grand stairway, seventy-five feet in height and forming the principal approach to the tomb. The mausoleum itself is ninety-eight feet in height and seventy-nine in diameter. It is of circular form, and adapts itself to the shape of the hill on which it is placed. The material of the exterior wall is pink Milford granite. The interior, which has been given an imposing columnar treatment, is finished in light gray Knoxville marble with a honed surface. There is a double sarcophagus of black polished granite for the bodies of the late President and his wife.
     The lighting of the interior of the tomb is from above, the opening being so proportioned to the space to be lighted as to attain an effect of solemnity. In the arrangement [467][468] of the grounds about the mausoleum and the approaches to the tomb there is a suggestion of a cross and sword, such a design being thought appropriate in the case of a memorial to a martyr President who was a warrior, and a chief magistrate in time of war. The Memorial Association had the counsel of an advisory commission consisting of Robert Peabody, of Boston, and Walter Cook, of New York, architects, and Daniel Chester French, sculptor. It was acting under the advice of this board that the association chose the design for a memorial submitted by H. Van Buren Magonigle, of New York, and the work of construction has been executed in accordance with this design. The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies on November 16, 1905.
     At the head of the grand stairway and about fifty feet in front of the façade of the mausoleum stands the statue of McKinley executed by Charles Henry Niehaus. It is of bronze and of heroic size, and represents the late President as he appeared on the day he made his Pan-American speech at Buffalo. He stands before an arm-chair, wears his customary frock coat, has his right hand in the pocket of his trousers, and with his left holds the manuscript of his speech.
     Above the door of the tomb and forming a background for the statue as seen by the approaching visitor, is a lunette, also by Mr. Niehaus. In the semi-circular field are three figures. In the center, wearing a mural crown, is the figure of Ohio. She raises with both hands a voluminous cloak with which she appears to cover with a protective gesture the two kneeling figures to right and left. On the right of the central figure kneels a male genius representing the arts of peace. Near by is an anvil. In his right hand this figure raises toward the protecting deity a vase and in his left carries another [468][469] emblem of the arts. The genius of war, on the opposite side of the lunette, kneels and presents a sword wreathed with flowers. The figures are in relief, the central being the highest. The effect of the composition is decorative, and it gives a poetic and artistic background to the McKinley statue itself, without in any way distracting from the latter the attention it should receive.


     The sixth anniversary of the delivery by President McKinley of his famous Pan-American speech was observed in Buffalo by the dedication of a memorial which seems a most appropriate reminder of the character of the dead President. It is perhaps the finest monument of the kind in the United States. The McKinley mausoleum at Canton belongs to an entirely different class as a memorial. It is a tomb, rather than a monument, and the place where Grant’s remains rest, on Riverside Drive, New York, is of the same character and is properly called “Grant’s Tomb.” The Garfield memorial in Cleveland is also a tomb. The McKinley memorial at Buffalo is a simple shaft of pure Vermont marble, with sculptured lions at its base, the whole giving an impression of mobility and loftiness of character. It was on September 5, 1901, that McKinley delivered his speech at the Pan-American Exposition grounds on reciprocity and closer relations with all countries, and [469][470] especially with those of this continent. This date was chosen for the dedication of the monument rather than September 6, on which day the Anarchist Czolgosz fired at the President the fatal shot in the Temple of Music.
     The idea of some memorial to the third martyr President in the city where his death took place was advanced soon after that sad event, and the fact that an unexpended balance of about $100,000 existed from New York State’s appropriation for a building and exhibits at the exposition made it comparatively easy to carry out the idea. The Legislature was persuaded without difficulty to allow this unexpended balance to be used for the monument and the city gave the site, in the center of the park known as Niagara Square, expending considerable money in its beautification.
     Niagara Square is near the business center of Buffalo and is about 500 feet in diameter. It is approached by streets at no less than eight different points, so that the trees lining these streets form eight charming vistas, through which the lofty marble shaft may be seen. John M. Carrere, architect of the memorial, who is familiar with the principal monumental structures of the world, declared on inspecting the site that he knew of no monument anywhere having a location, on the whole, so advantageous. The shaft is sixty-nine feet in height and rests on a base twenty-four feet in height. At the four corners of the base are lions, the work of the noted animal sculptor, A. Phimister Proctor, modeled by the artist from Sultan, the noble king of beasts of the Bronx Park Zoölogical Gardens. Facing the park in which the monument stands is the house once occupied by President Millard Fillmore. The dedication of the monument formed the leading feature of Buffalo’s “Old Home” week, and the principal address of the occasion was delivered by the Governor of New York State, the Hon. Charles E. Hughes. Perhaps nowhere is the memory of McKinley held in greater reverence than in Buffalo, for the sad scenes attending his death there left an impression never to be erased. The memorial which has been erected in his honor forms a fitting expression of this veneration and affection.


     Although the memorials at Canton and Buffalo are the most important that have been erected in remembrance of McKinley, they are by no means the only ones the country possesses. Among other cities for which such memorials have been designed are Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco; Springfield, Mass.; San José, Cal.; Adams, Mass.; Muskegon, Mich., and Toledo, Ohio. Perhaps no hero or statesman of American history was ever honored with so many memorials in marble and granite and bronze within so short a period after his death as McKinley. In most cases the funds to defray the cost of these works were raised by popular subscription. The McKinley statue at Muskegon, Mich., by Niehaus, was presented by a wealthy citizen, the late Charles H. Hackley, who gave his native town many other works of art besides this in the course of his efforts toward its embellishment. The Columbus memorial, which cost $50,000, was paid for in part through an appropriation by the Legislature and in part through the subscriptions of Columbus citizens. That at Adams was erected mainly through the offerings of school children and factory employees. At Toledo, within a week after the late President’s death, the citizens had raised $15,000 for a memorial, and it was unveiled on the first anniversary of that lamented event. It is a portrait in bronze, mounted on a granite base, and stands in front of the court house. The memorial at Adams, Mass., is a bronze portrait statue, which is accounted a most [470][471] happy reproduction of the features and expression of McKinley. It is the work of Augustus Lukeman, and stands in front of the public library of the town. A memorial in the form of a female figure in bronze, set upon a base of California granite, was unveiled in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, in 1904, the work of Robert S. Aitken. The symbolism of the figure is that of a mother of citizens, the sword of war dropped, the palm of peace raised. The sculptor carved the face of a woman in sorrow, but with an expression of serenity and resignation.
     The memorial at Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is by Herman A. MacNeil, and consists of a statue of McKinley flanked by two symbolic groups. One represents the idea of prosperity through progress, this being typified by the figures of a man of great strength and energy and of a youth seated beside him listening to the counsels of maturity. The group on the other side of the statue consists of two female figures, one a splendid specimen of mature womanhood, whose arm encircles the second figure, a maiden, who holds a wreath. The woman is placing the palm of peace above the sword and helmet. The group is symbolical of peace and the joys and virtues of domestic life. The memorial stands in front of the Capitol at Columbus, where McKinley performed much public service while Governor of Ohio, and the statue was unveiled on the fifth anniversary of his death by President Roosevelt’s daughter, Mrs. Nicholas Longworth.
     At Springfield, Mass., is a work of striking beauty by Philip Martiny. A bust of McKinley surmounts a shaft on which is sculptured a female figure reaching upward with a palm branch in her hand. It is an exceedingly chaste and noble conception. The Philadelphia McKinley monument was to have been the work of the late Charles A. Lopez. On his death the completion of the task assigned to him was intrusted to Isidore Konti.
     It may be too soon to fix the exact rank which history will give McKinley as a statesman. But the fact that within a half dozen years of his tragic end so many grand and truly beautiful works of the architect and sculptor have been erected in his honor and as continual reminders of his services to his countrymen, is surely proof that his place in the heart of the nation is secure.



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