Daniel Chester French (April 20, 1850 – October 7, 1931) was an American sculptor. His best-known work is the sculpture of a seated Abraham Lincoln (1920) at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
French was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, to Henry Flagg French (1813–
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Grace Hertz and Mary Turner (Sister Act) Peter Norton Donna Jolley Margaret Paxton Collier Smith Marilyn Hamill Winnefred Evans Marcelle Comeau Arthur Hartwell Daniel Jolley Tom Collins Fiona Brooker Maureen O'Connor Gus Marsh Rebecca Bare Charlie Wayne Joyce Veness Sharon Martin Dennis Brann Suzan Farris Judy Pfaff Sally Garrison Carol Farrant Tim Bailey Tim Bailey Elaine C. Hebert Tan Lulham Joshua Kreitzer Mike Dalton Talea Jurrens Carol Stansell Debbie Veness Nancy Nalle-McKenzie
Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream August 28, 1963 Washington DC
Comments from Our Readers
Another civil-rights leader who was not there was James Farmer, in jail for a protest elsewhere. I remember seeing and listening to Farmer at a rally in Ithaca, NY somewhere around this time, possibly a bit later. Chronological memory is not my long suit! I was in high school.
I never got to see King (nor, for that matter, Anderson, whom I admired) in person, but he was a major influence on my decision to dedicate myself to non-violence. That influence lives on strongly in my eldest daughter, who works as a family advocate in the fight against domestic violence.
***** Most intriguing, though, was the impromptu predawn meeting which president Richard Nixon had with Vietnam War protestors at the memorial on May 9, 1970. Considering how security conscious we are these days, it's hard to imagine a president going out without armored vehicles and a full complement of Secret Service agents.
I’ll bet some of those DAR ladies who turned Marion Anderson down shared some DNA with her, too!
***** I thought the Washington Monument was in the background, so the photographer would be in the Lincoln Memorial. Turns out I was right.
***** A great website DC Like a Local has a theory about exactly 87 steps to the Lincoln Memorial. [Fopur score and 7]. Park Services also declares this as untrue, but the facts are interesting.
Feel free to verify my work, but I get 58 to begin. With the two additional flights of ten and one of nine, making a grand total of 87.
With his photo evidence, it's a compelling argument, still the Park Services deny this myth. Also some say that Lincoln is buried here.....
***** An urban legend is that General Robert E. Lee's face is hidden in President Lincoln's hair. Personally, I think the sculptor and his assistants had better things to do than play a game like that. With a little imagination, one could probably see Robert E Lee in my hair when I first get out of bed in the morning.
Carol Gene Farrant
***** In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution, of all people, refused to let Marian Anderson sing in their hall because she wanted (shudder) to let people of all "races" to attend. She sang instead at the Lincoln Memorial in front of 75,000 people, her brilliant talent, dignity, and courage showing those nasty old women to be the fools they were. In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. used the same venue to once again demonstrate the idiocy that racism is. Of course, the whole idea of the human population being divided into "races" is pure nonsense that has been used by such luminaries as Adolph Hitler to excuse hatred, suppression of human rights, and murder. In the United States, which is a gigantic amalgam of every conceivable "race," religion, ethnicity, color, and nationality, such a concept is laughable.
***** I think I mentioned to you in the past that Abraham Lincoln is my favorite historical person and that if I could go back and meet someone, he would be the one. I have quite a few books in my library concerning Lincoln including a first edition copy of The Life of Abraham Lincoln (1866) by J. G. Holland. Your involvement with the DNA project on Lincoln must be very interesting.
Daniel E. Jolley
***** Being a member of the DAR I was horrified to see that they would not permit Marion Anderson to sing in Constitutional Hall. I have spoken to another long time member of the DAR about this. It seems that constitutional Hall was already booked that day. Eleanor Roosevelt wanted the DAR to bump the original people and have Marian Anderson appear instead. Evidently there has been many corrections clearing the DAR in this case. It was not because she was black, it just was already booked.
In the 50’s I worked at a clothing store and down the street was a Woolworth’s Five and Dime. They had a lunch counter. I found out much later that they refused to serve the black man that worked at our store. If I had known that I would have taken him down there myself and ordered lunch for him. I cannot believe how the people of color were treated even in my lifetime.
I am discovering many things in my old age. Have you ever read the book WHITE CARGO? It seems before there were black slaves in America the British had beaten them. The book is about the forgotten history of Britain’s white slaves in America. I knew about indentured servants but had no idea of what the British did to the poor of their county. I just started the book and it is quite fascinating and upsetting.
Interesting Observation from Mike Dalton
French also had a son who was deaf. Had not Lincoln signed the legislation when he did, the Gallaudet School probably would not gained university status for at least a couple of decades later. The letters A and L can be seen signed with Lincoln's Hands.
To add some credence to this: The tower of Gallaudet University can be seen in left background of contest photo as well as in modern photos from same vantage point. Google maps also shows location of Gallaudet to close by Memorial at same angle. Taking all this into consideration, this is part of French's creative expression in recognizing Gallaudet University, Lincoln's role and the deafness of his own son and having Lincoln statue gazing at Gallaudet University in the distance.
Mike Dalton Quizmaster Emeritus
Almost since its completion in 1922, the memorial to Abraham Lincoln has conjured up several myths associated with its architectural details. Whereas there are a few symbolic representations in the details, such as the thirty-six exterior columns representing the number of states at the time of his death, many more suggested symbols are pure myth.
The building in question in left background of contest photo could be the old Washington, DC Post Office tower not Chapel Hall.
Took closer look at contest photo and google maps. Gallaudet University might be visible from main level of Lincoln Memorial, but is not seen in contest photo. It is in the general direction of Post Office Pavilion seen, but much further away.
Let us start with one of the more understandable myths about the memorial. Is Abraham Lincoln buried underneath, or entombed within, the stone structure? Given the purpose and design of the memorial, that is not an unreasonable assumption. However, after his death in 1865, Lincoln’s body was buried in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. His memorial construction was begun in 1914 with no plans to move his body.
When one visits the Memorial, one climbs several sets of granite and marble steps to reach the chamber containing the statue. Many visitors assume the 57 steps they
climbed equal his age at his death; however, Lincoln was just 56 years old when he was killed in April 1865.
Now inside the chamber, the marble statue of President Lincoln, comfortably seated in a copy of a Roman Senate chair, appears in a grand fashion. Draped over the back of the chair is the U.S. Flag, a patriotic gesture in his time. Finally, standing between the entry columns to the chamber, Lincoln’s head is canted down a touch, so his eyes meet yours. Many people look at the back of Lincoln’s head, believing they will see an image of Robert E. Lee, U.S. Grant, or Jefferson Davis. There are several wayward tufts of Lincoln’s wavy hair, but nothing more.
Another myth concerns Lincoln’s hands. Are they forming
Lincoln's right and left hands.
the American Sign Language symbols for his initials, A and L? The answer is no. The sculptor, Daniel Chester French, used molds cast in 1860 of Lincoln’s hands to guide his work. Given that they both were in a fist-like arrangement, he decided to relax one of them so the statue would not look as tense.
French became so bothered by the growing myths that in the 1940s he wrote a letter to the National Park Service explaining his specific design features of the statue. Collectively, he merely wanted Lincoln to show his strength, resolve, and confidence in seeing the Nation through the Civil War.
Two of Lincoln’s important speeches are engraved onto the walls of the chamber; on the south wall is the Gettysburg Address, and on the north wall is his Second Inaugural Address. Quite often people ask about the misspelled word in the Second Inaugural Address, but there is none. The carver inadvertently carved a letter “E” where he meant to carve an “F”. Almost immediately, this error was corrected by filling in a portion of the carving yielding an “F”, forever removing any misspelled word.
What is the building to the left of Washington Monument?
I agree that the building in the background is probably the Old Post Office. Chapel Hall at Gallaudet University would probably be eclipsed by the Post Office if it could be seen at all in the distance. Besides, it looks a lot like the Old Post Office. - Q. Gen.
1885), a lawyer, judge, Assistant US Treasury Secretary and author of a book that described the French drain, and his wife Anne Richardson. In 1867, French moved with his family to Concord, Massachusetts, where he was a neighbor and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Alcott family. His decision to pursue sculpting was influenced by Louisa May Alcott's sister May Alcott.
Census shows that he had just one daughter, Margaret born in [about 1890]. No mention on findagrave.com of her being deaf.
Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century.
Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid- twentieth century. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. The incident placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level unusual for a classical musician. With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. She sang before a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions. Anderson continued to break barriers for black artists in the United States, becoming the first black person, American or otherwise, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on January 7, 1955. Her performance as Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi's Un ballo in maschera at the Met was the only time she sang an opera role on stage.
Anderson worked for several years as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as a "goodwill ambassadress" for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, singing at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Anderson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.