Friday, December 28, 2012

Heald Square Monument

Heald Square Monument
Location: Wacker Drive at Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
Dedication: December 15, 1941
Medium: Bronze
GPS Coordinates: N 41° 53.251 W 087° 37.615

Heald Square is located at the intersection of East Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue in Chicago. The square is named for Nathan Heald, an officer in the United States Army during the War of 1812. Heald was in charge of Fort Dearborn during the Battle of Fort Dearborn on August 15, 1812. Heald and his wife barely escaped with their lives as a band of Potawatomi attacked the fort and burned it to the ground. Heald Square became part of the Chicago Park District in 1934, but the ownership was transferred to the City of Chicago as part of the Second Functional Consolidation Act in 1959.

The Lorado Taft Heald Square Monument is an 11 foot high bronze image of three Revolutionary War heroes standing on a six foot high granite base. George Washington is the central figure. Washington is flanked by Haym Salomon on his left and Robert Morris on his right. Robert Morris was born in Liverpool, England, on January 20, 1734. He moved to Oxford, Maryland, at the age of 13 to live with his father who was a tobacco farmer. His father later sent him to Philadelphia where he apprenticed at the shipping and banking firm owned by Charles Willing. After becoming a partner in the reorganized shipping and banking firm of Willing & Morris at the age of 18, Morris became a very wealthy and prominent businessman in Philadelphia. He became politically active in 1765 when he served on a committee established to oppose the Stamp Act. From 1775 to 1778, Morris represented Pennsylvania in the Second Continental Congress. In 1776, he loaned $10,000 of his own money to the government when the Continental Army lacked the funds to continue fighting the war. He devised a plan for a National bank and submitted it to Congress in 1781. Morris was one of only two patriots to sign all three of the important founding documents of the United States: The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The United States Constitution.

Haym Salomon was born in Leszno, Poland, in 1740. His parents had been driven out of what is now Portugal by anti-Semitic laws decreed by the monarchy. When Salomon was a young man, he fled to Holland during a period of mob violence against Jews. He traveled throughout Europe in the 1760’s and became fluent in several languages. He returned to Poland in 1770, but had to flee again in 1772 because he was involved in Poland’s nationalism effort. Salomon immigrated to New York City in 1775 and became a financial broker. He sympathized with the anti-British forces and joined the Sons of Liberty. The British arrested him for spying in 1776 and again in 1778. He then moved to Philadelphia and resumed his brokerage business. Salomon opened an office as a dealer of bills of exchange, bonds sold to provide funds for the Revolutionary War effort, and arranged for a loan to help George Washington pay his soldiers. Salomon and Morris collaborated to become effective brokers of bills of exchange to meet federal government expenses. Unfortunately, Salomon died penniless shortly after the Revolutionary War, having donated everything he owned to the war effort. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in 1975 hailing Salomon as a “Financial Hero of the American Revolution.”

The scourge of anti-Semitism invaded the United States after the Civil War. During the first decades of the twentieth century, Jewish quotas were imposed at many colleges and universities. The Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, restricting the number of Jews entering the United States, was passed in 1924. Anti-Semitism reached its peak in the 1930’s when more than one hundred anti-Jewish groups were organized. Father Charles W. Coughlin of Royal Oak, Michigan, was one of the leading disseminators of Jewish hatred on nationwide radio, and the Ku Klux Klan was formed in the 1920s. Henry Ford believed that Jews were responsible for starting wars in order to profit from them. His rants against the “international Jewish community” were embraced by Adolph Hitler and reprinted in Nazi propaganda publications.

Barnet Hodes, a Chicago attorney and head of the Chicago Department of Law, led an attempt to curb the rise of Anti-Semitism in Chicago when he created the Patriotic Foundation of Chicago on July 4, 1936. Hodes defined the purpose of the foundation: “Leaders in every walk of life and representatives of every cultural group have confirmed the conviction that a major contribution to patriotism, historical knowledge, and understanding of the part played by peoples of various nationalities in the building of America will be made by the erection in Chicago of an appropriate memorial symbolizing the cooperation that George Washington received from Haym Salomon and Robert Morris.” Of Polish Jewish heritage, Hodes had read about the financial contributions that Jewish patriot Haym Salomon had made to the American Revolution and planned to honor him. However, Hodes felt that a commemorative statue of Salomon standing alone would not deliver the message of inter-cultural cooperation as effectively as a sculpture with non-Jewish patriots like George Washington and Robert Morris.

Barnet Hodes chose Lorado Taft to design the Heald Square Monument, and a campaign to raise $50,000 to complete the project was launched. Taft completed a small study model of the monument that depicted Robert Morris and Haym Salomon standing hand-in-hand with George Washington. Taft unfortunately died in 1936, but his work was completed by three of his students, Leonard Crunelle, Nellie Walker, and Mary Webster. The face of Washington was modeled after the 18th century bust of him by Jean Antoine Houdon. The inscription on the base of the sculpture is a quote from George Washington who based his comments on part of a letter written in 1790 by Moses Seixas, a member of a Newport, Rhode Island, Hebrew congregation. It reads: “The government of the United States which gives to bigotry no sanction to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it in all occasions their effectual support.” For the back of the base of the sculpture, Taft designed a bronze plaque with Liberty stretching out her arms to welcome all persons of whatever race and belief.

The Heald Square Monument was dedicated on December 15, 1941. The date was chosen to coincide with Bill of Rights Day, a nationwide celebration of the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The fact that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941, added additional significance to the dedication ceremonies. Barnet Hodes formally presented the Heald Square Monument to the City of Chicago and said: “Robert Morris and Haym Salomon tell us that civilian cooperation and civilian sacrifice with the military and naval forces was no less important in the first days of our Republic than it is today. Joined with the indomitable Washington, they will stand here to remind us that America became the America we love because there was that working together between civilians and soldiers without which no war can be won. It is the fervent hope of those who made this monument possible that all who see it, today and through the years to come, will catch from it and be constantly inspired by this crucial lesson from the past.”

Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly observed: “George Washington and his friend, Robert Morris were Christians. Haym Salomon was a Jew. These three, though of widely different walks of life, labored together in a common cause in order that the American way of life, as we know it today, might be guaranteed to future generations of other Americans, the right to live as free men knowing no master, alive to their own opportunities, yet tolerant and sympathetic toward others. To my mind, this typifies the very spirit of America.” Illinois Senator Scott Lucas referred to the three figures on the monument as representing “the ideals we reaffirm in a challenging world. Different as day and night, yet these three men held as one the torch of liberty, worshipping God, each in his own way, each daring the hangman tyrant’s halter in the cause of that new light of the world – democracy. From this monument we take courage and hope. We rise in the image of these three men to shield the light of liberty from extinction, to keep our country what they helped to make it – the permanent abode of sacred freedoms, the greatest of which is the freedom of man’s religious soul.” The Heald Square Monument became the first sculpture designated as a Chicago Landmark by the Chicago City Council on September 15, 1971.

For further reading:



Bach, Ira J. & Mary Lackritz Gray. A Guide To Chicago’s Public Sculptures.
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Barnard, Harry. “This Great Triumvirate Of Patriots:” The Inspiring Story Behind Lorado Taft’s Chicago Monument To George Washington, Robert Morris And Haym Salomon. Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1971.

Fast, Howard. Haym Salomon: Son of Liberty. New York: Julian Messner, 1941.

“George Washington-Robert Morris-Haym Salomon Monument Was Dedicated In Wake Of Pearl Harbor Attack.” Chicago Jewish History. Vol. 25, No. 4, 2001.

Graf, John & Steve Skorpad. Chicago’s Monuments, Markers, and Memorials.
Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.

“Monument to Haym Salomon to be Dedicated in Chicago Today.” Jewish Telegraphic History. December 15, 1941.

Rappleye, Charles R. Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Riedy, James L. Chicago Sculpture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981.

Schwartz, Laurens R. Jews and the American Revolution: Haym Salomon and Others. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Publishers, 1987.

Wenger, Beth S. “Sculpting an American Jewish Hero: The Monuments, Myths, and Legends of Haym Salomon” in Divergent Jewish Cultures: Israel and America. Deborah Dash Moore and S. Ilan Troen, eds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

Young, Christopher J. “Barnet Hodes’s Quest to Remember Haym Salomon, the Almost-Forgotten Jewish Patriot of the American Revolution.” The American Jewish Archives Journal. December 2011.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lorado Taft's Dream Museum


Lorado Taft had long envisioned the creation of a Dream Museum, a building dedicated to the exhibition of casts of all the greatest sculptures from all over the world. Taft had always been very interested in art education, and hundreds of sculpture students learned their artistic skills from the master. However, educating students about sculpture was not enough for Taft; he wanted to give them the chance to see and enjoy examples of sculpture in person. Taft also strongly believed in the proper lighting for sculptures. Once when he was lecturing in the Midwest, he observed a perfectly lighted cast of the Venus de Milo. This revelation of the beauty of this masterpiece bathed in proper lighting strengthened his passion: a Dream Museum containing casts of the greatest sculptures of the world arranged in sequence.

One possible site for a Dream Museum was the Palace of Fine Arts or the Fine Arts Building from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Unlike the other buildings from this Chicago World’s Fair, this structure was constructed with a brick substructure under its white plaster fa├žade. It originally housed the Columbian Museum, later the Field Museum of Natural History. The site was left vacant when a new Field Museum was opened near downtown Chicago in 1920. Taft led a campaign to raise funds to restore the building and convert it into his Dream Museum. City officials authorized the expenditure of five million dollars to restore the building. Unfortunately, while Taft and his wife were traveling in Europe, philanthropist Julius Rosenwald changed the focus of the project. The Fine Arts Building became the Museum of Science and Industry instead.

In the early 1930’s, Taft approached officials from Los Angeles and suggested that his Dream Museum be built on a site in Griffith Park. He received help from his brother-in-law Hamlin Garland and Los Angles Times publisher Harry Chandler. Taft went on the lecture circuit to generate financial support for his Dream Museum. The museum would have cost two million dollars back in the 1930’s. The museum staff organized a premature groundbreaking ceremony on February 9, 1934, and Taft dug out the first shovel of dirt. Because of the Great Depression and Taft’s declining health, sufficient funding never materialized for the construction of his Dream Museum.

Friday, December 21, 2012


The Crusader: Victor Lawson Monument
Location: Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Erected: 1931
Medium: Granite
GPS Coordinates: N 41° 57.498 W 087° 39.505

Graceland Cemetery is located at 4001 North Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois, and was founded in 1860 by Thomas Bryan, a successful Chicago lawyer and businessman. Bryan hired landscape architect H. W. S. Cleveland to develop the original sixty acres of land and to turn it into a park similar to the cemeteries of Victorian England. Park designer and landscape architect Ossian Simonds was contracted to create a final plan for the cemetery when additional acres were later added. Simonds was a founding partner of the architectural firm of Holabird, Simonds, and Roche that designed all the buildings for the cemetery. Using native plants to enhance the rustic landscape in the cemetery, Simonds created an agrarian parcel of land with room for memorial markers and picnics--a green area for the living and a final resting place for the dead.

Graceland Cemetery officials often described it as “The Cemetery of Architects.” Architects Louis Sullivan, John Root, Daniel Burnham, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, William Le Baron Jenney, Marion Mahony Griffin, Bruce Goff, Fazlur Khan, Richard Nickel, and Dwight Heald Perkins were all buried in Graceland Cemetery. Other Chicago luminaries buried there include George Pullman, Potter Palmer, Jack Johnson, Martin Ryerson, William Kimball, John Peter Altgeld, Philip Armour, Marshall Field, Cyrus McCormick, Allan Pinkerton, and Victor Lawson.

Victor Fremont Lawson was the son of Melinda and Iver and Lawson, a Norwegian immigrant who arrived in Chicago in 1848. He became a wealthy man by buying and selling real estate and was the first Norwegian-American to became politically active. He served as a Chicago alderman and a state senator. When Victor was born on September 9, 1850, the Lawsons named him Victor Fremont in honor of John C. Fremont, the Republican Party’s first nominee for president. Victor attended grammar school and high school in Chicago and later excelled at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed his father’s real estate business, but Iver regained part of his fortune during the next several years. When Iver died in 1874, Victor took over the management of his father’s business interests.

A Norwegian-language newspaper called the Skandinaven was one of Victor’s new partnerships, and he began to manage the family businesses in an office in the newspaper building. Melville E. Stone, the founder of a struggling new newspaper called the Chicago Daily News, also had an office in the same building. When the first issue of the Daily News was published on December 23, 1875, readers soon realized that it was a totally different kind of newspaper from others of the day. It was politically independent, printed stories that were very concise, and sold for one penny. After six months of financial difficulty, Melville Stone turned to his friend and former schoolmate Victor Lawson for help. Lawson agreed to help and bought the newspaper for $6,000. He became the publisher of the Daily News on August 1, 1876, and Melville Stone stayed on the staff as the editor. They bought the Post and Mail in 1878 since it was a member of the Associated Press. Because it tried to serve the whole urban population, the Daily News soon became a true mass-market newspaper in Chicago. From the beginning, the newspaper included popular fiction, household tips, local and national news, and any content that might appeal to a majority of the readers.

The Daily News started with an afternoon edition and introduced a two-penny morning edition in 1881. When it later published both editions for a penny, the Daily News maintained a circulation of more than 200,000. Lawson proved to be a genius in building circulation for the newspaper. He advertised through other publications, posters, postcards, calendars, and clocks. He ran contests and games in the newspaper to generate interest and readership. When Melville Stone retired in 1888, Victor Lawson assumed the positions of both editor and publisher. In the 1890s, the newspaper became a strong advocate for urban reform and campaigned for better city services. Because Lawson felt that the American people needed a direct source of international news during troubled times, he started the Daily News Foreign Service in 1898. Newspapers all over the world followed the model of the Daily News and created their own foreign offices. Lawson also started one of the first columns devoted to radio in 1922. The Daily News was always considered a writer’s newspaper and hired among others Carl Sandburg and Mike Royko. The Daily News published its last edition on Saturday, March 4, 1978.

Victor Lawson married Jessie Strong Bradley on February 5, 1880. The couple had no children partly because Jessie was chronically ill during most of her life. The couple made frequent trips to Europe searching for healing and restoration. Jessie maintained strong religious convictions throughout her life, and because or her beliefs, Victor never published Sunday editions of his newspapers. She died in October 1914. Lawson received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Michigan in 1923 and a similar degree from Columbia University in 1924. Throughout his life, Lawson donated money to many charities including the Chicago Theological Seminary, the Daily News Fresh Air Fund, and the Y.M.C.A. Lawson died on August 19, 1925, at his residence on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

Although Victor Lawson frequently reprimanded his younger brother for not working hard and studying enough, Iver N. Lawson commissioned Lorado Taft to design an appropriate grave marker to honor his older brother and to mark his final resting place in Graceland Cemetery. Taft created The Crusader that portrays a medieval knight in armor looking off into the distance and holding a sword in his left hand and a shield in his right hand. A cross of a crusader is embellished on the shield. The statue was carved out of a solid block of granite and polished until it resembled bronze. The Henry C. Smalley Granite Company of Quincy, Massachusetts, furnished the granite. Victor Lawson’s grave is unmarked except for an engraved statement located on the base of the statue that reads: “Above All Things, Truth Beareth Away The Victory.” The phrase refers to a story in the apocryphal Book of Esdras.


For further reading:

Bach, Ira J. & Mary Lackritz Gray. A Guide to Chicago’s Public Sculpture. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Dennis, Charles H. Victor Lawson: His Time and His Work. Chicago, Illinois:
The University of Chicago Press, 1935.

Graf, John & Steve Skorpad. Chicago’s Monuments, Markers, and Memorials. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.

Lanctot, Barbara. A Walk Through Graceland Cemetery. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Architecture Foundation, 1988.

“Unique Statue As Memorial To Victor Lawson.” Chicago Tribune. July 24, 1931.

Vernon, Christopher. Graceland Cemetery: A Design History. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 2011.

“Victor F. Lawson, 1850-1925.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.
Volume 18, No. 3. October 1925.

“Victor F. Lawson Is Dead.” Chicago Tribune. August 20, 1925.

Weller, Allen. “Lorado Taft, the Ferguson Fund, and the Advent of Modernism,” in The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940. Sue Ann Prince, ed. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.