Daniel Chester French
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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Quiz #393 Results
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Answers to Quiz #393 - April 7, 2013
1. What would the photographer see if he were facing in the opposite direction?
2.  What urban legend is associated with what is behind him,
that might actually be true?
3.  What historical events happened here in 1939 and 1963?
TinEye Alert
You can find this photo on,
but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1.  The statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.
2.  That Lincoln's hands were sculpted
spelling out his initials A and L, in sign language.
3.  1939 - Soprano Marion Anderson gave a concert at the Lincoln Memorial
after she was not allowed to sing by the DAR at Constitution Hall.

1963 - During the March on Washington,
Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech.
Do Abraham Lincoln's Hands Spell His Name in Sign Language?
Congratulations to Our Winners!

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.
Peter Norton
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

I’ll bet some of those DAR ladies who turned Marion Anderson down shared some
DNA with her, too!
Margaret Paxton
I thought the Washington Monument was in the background, so the photographer
would be in the Lincoln Memorial. Turns out I was right.
Arthur Hartwell
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.....
Dennis Brann
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.
  Tim Baily
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.
  Sharon Martin
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.

Mike Dalton
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 of her being deaf.

Mike Dalton

Read more about Daniel Chester French...
Marian Anderson' Concert at the Lincoln Memorial
Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8,
1993) was an African-American contralto and one
of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth

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

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.