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tv   The Civil War Creating the Lincoln Memorial  CSPAN  April 26, 2019 10:48pm-11:50pm EDT

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earlier in the week, he instructed the administration to boycott the dinner. watch the live coverage of the president's rally saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, and following the rally watch live coverage at 9:30 p.m. eastern of the white house correspondents dinner with featured speaker, author and historian ron chernow. the dedication of the lincoln memorial in washington took place in 1922, almost 60 years after his death. we will hear a discussion on "the monument man" the life and art of the man who is best known for the statue of lincoln which serves as the centerpiece held at the annual lincoln symposium. this is an hour. good afternoon and welcome to the second session of the lincome forum.
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i want to make one correction before we get started. in the pact, there are biographies and mine suggests that i am the provost at howard university. i think they, i think that my boss the provost would be surprised to hear that. oh. that is him responding. okay. so, we will start with that, but in any case, i have the great pleasure of introducing harold holzer, and i have known harold for nearly, and i have spent not a century, but a quarter of a century. i am reminded of the mistake -- yes. since the last century, yes, that is right. but anyway, i have known harold for nearly a quarter of a century, and i have had the pleasure of working with him and frank both on a publication and on several national boards including this one.
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as the bio in your packet indicates harold is currently the director of the roosevelt house public policy institute a as you all know, he is the cofounder, with frank williams, of the form which they established 24 years ago, and is currently our cochair. in his past life, harold chaired the lincoln bicentennial foundation, and cochaired the lincoln bicentennial commission. harold is the most prolific writer i have ever met. he is the author, co-author, or editor, of 53 books and counting. and, most of them are -- there are a few i think that or not, okay on lincoln. his 2015 lincoln empower of the
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press won the coveted lincoln prize, and a few slightly less prestigious awards, one from the columbia journalist school, and another from harvard. in 2008, then president president bush awarded him the national humanities medal. we are among the lucky few to be introduced to his most recent work, which will not be widely available until january, i understand. the title is monuments man, the life and art of daniel chester french, at the lincoln memorial. it is my distinct pleasure, to present harold holds her.
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>> i would love all eyes to be on me, but i have some really interesting silent movie footage for you to see. see if you can pick out people, this is the dedication of the lincoln memorial, there's robert lincoln, this is the crowd client gathering in front of the reflecting pool, this is memorial day, 1922. thousands and thousands of people, you will see some of some of them with parasols, it is not raining, it's just really sunny in washington. so, i am going to be speaking about the career that leads up to this, what turned out to be a contentious moment in american history, as president harding accepts the lincoln memorial on behalf of the american people. crowds of dignitaries on the top step, among whom is daniel chester french, the subject of today's talk.
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this is the longest minute and 15 seconds i ever witnessed. there are the umbrellas that you see. keep this in mind as we go, if we survive to go forward and lecture. it is in the lecture. i think we can switch. so, this is the story of the man who produced the statute that created all of that foss on may 30, 1932. it is the story of the remarkable career that led up to that moment, and that iconic moment itself. so, the lincoln memorial, what it was about, in the 19 teens and 20s, what it became, it is a redemptive story in a way, and also a story of great creativity. of government getting things right. organizations cooperating, with
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a lot of controversy. it requires you to go back in time, maybe i don't have to say this, to a moment when public sculpture and statuary was really important to people. as it has become again, right? reinterpreting, reimagining, and sometimes re-criticizing public sculpture. that is in our faces all the time and that we often take for granted. well, this is the guy, yes i know, this is the guy who produced the lincoln memorial. born in 1850, in chester, new hampshire. his father was a lawyer, expected his son to be a lawyer , and when this picture was taken when he was three years old, hey always had great hair up until a moment as you will see. he was smiling. i found this to be a moment of interest in the world of art. it is almost impossible, to
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have a smile frozen, he managed and allegedly the photographer had little bird that he distracted his child subjects with, and interestingly, daniel chester french became a birdwatcher and lover. here he is with his friend william brewster, who became the most famous ornithologist in the country. on april 13, through april 15 1865, daniel chester french was birdwatching and amherst, massachusetts, his old hometown, and put a note in his diary, which he kept meticulously, which said the first ruby crowned ringlet of the spring. he could have added no other news, that is how uninterested he was in the fact that abraham lincoln, his most famous subject, died that very day. did not affect him at all.
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what he did find was that he was not very good at mit, which his father sent him to. his grades were appalling. he begged his father to give him art lessons. by then, they lived in concord. and, there were some really wonderful teachers there. may all caught, on the left, the sister of louisa may olcott, was the town's most famous drawing instructor. she gave french's first sculpting tools, which he carried with him wherever he went for the rest of his life. john quincy adams ward studied with him in the west 50s in manhattan, learned how to place cultures are transformed, into giant public sculptures through plastic molds, and scaffolding, and all of the things he had no clue about as they related to the art he was starting to love. and william rimmer on the right, a painter, also an anatomist,
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and the author of books on anatomy, france joined his old anatomy class and endured for nine months before his teasing her his adolescent embarrassment drove him out of the class. as he said, i didn't want to be an embarrassment to the girls. it may have been the other way around. his early career was spent searching for style and inspiration. and, in the beginning, he was sort of doing a little bit of work that william rogers was doing, the same kinds of things you know about rogers groups, this was his version of rogers groups, this was called matchmaking. believe it or not, this was a best seller. and, what french learned from it was, never sell cheap. he became quite a businessman. the rights to this, he sold for $50. as he put it, it took off like wildfire. his quotes are never great.
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he's not a writer, he's an artist. it took off like wildfire would not have been my choice of words, but that's what he said. thousands of dollars were made off this small thing. by 1870, he comes of age, he's 21, and again, that's great head of hair, i'm so envious. but, as you will see, he suffered the same fate as i did, as he goes along. he decides, what is a young artist to do, he must study abroad. and, just before he makes the decision to go to europe, his hometown decides to do a statue of the fight at the old northbridge and concorde. how do you celebrate the minutemen who had risen to the threat of the british invasion, and fought them off, with their home muskets, and without uniforms. there was no competition, for this work.
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daniel chester french was the hometown boy. it didn't matter that he had never done a sculpture larger than about 3 feet. he got the job. and, it is sort of remarkable. but it happened. his first model is lost, it was rejected. and, he decided to consult the apollo belvedere, at least a copy of it, which was on view at the boston atheneum, right across the river from concord. from that, he began doing drawings, of legs and torsos, which would create a sense of torsion and drama for the figure, he would do. and of course, then, it begins to take shape as he writes descriptive passages as well. of what we know, as the minutemen. and, this is taken around 1875, that the dictation was a tremendous event.
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ulysses s grant was there. ambrose burnside was there to represent our favorite topic of the day. louisa may olcott arrived, and said, where is my seat? she was already pretty famous, and the master of ceremonies said ms. olcott, your seat is anywhere but on this platform. she did not stay. then, the platform collapsed. french did not get paid for this iconic work, which is pretty good for a guy who didn't know how to make a statue. he made a mold, they turned it upside down, filled with clay, the heads fell off, he didn't know you were supposed to brace the head, he put it back on, somehow he sent it to a foundry, and had it done in bronze. he got no pay for it come he didn't want pay, he just wanted
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the honor of doing the work. later, they gave him $1000 bonus, and he made replicas for the rest of his life. at $1500 it each. he did have very -- became a very canny businessman. i'm sure you've all seen the work, it has become a symbol of everything from war bonds, to the national rifle association, to the first instant tapioca pudding, ready in a minute, get it? or the national guard, always ready, always there. french did not come home for this moment, he was, i think, disagreements with my friend at chester wood, where his studio is located. he was abroad, it was not easy to get a 747 back to boston. but he could have come back. i think he was just too
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nervous. of course, this created a sensation, this is where he is, when the dedication takes place. he is in florence. with a view of the duomo from his window, and he is studying with hiram powers, a very famous american sculptor by then and ex-pat living in florence. he promptly falls in love with powers daughter, so he moves on to the sculptural palazzo of thomas ball on the right. thomas ball is the sculpture interestingly of the emancipation group, the year afterwards with frederick douglass giving the famous oration about whether abraham lincoln was the white man's president of the black man's presidents. he's seeing a successful lincoln, the model of it in the studio, he falls in with the families, you can see he's kneeling there, the young woman
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is the next woman he fell in love with. i think the great love of his life, thomas ball's daughter lizzy. he was torn between living and learning, it's a great classical pace, a visualization of the myth of the handsome greek shepherd, who is a beautiful greek shepherd awakened by a kiss. i don't know, it was not a success. in 1876, french returns, to boston, after two years away, and he has met -- the ship is met by a revenue cutter, an official government ship, from the treasury department, and he assumes this is coming to pick up the mail, and then -- years himself being paged, with will daniel chester french please
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for the revenue cutter. his father is on the cutter, his father who had done so much to nurture and support him, his father has become the assistant secretary of the treasury in the waning days of the ministration. i guess you can commandeer a revenue cutter and me to ship if you are the assistant secretary. dan doesn't know what he will do, his father says come to washington, and begin your work in my house, no expenses you will get a studio, one of the earliest things he does in the more realistic style is a bust of his wonderful patron father. through several ministration all the way up to the dawn of the democrats returning to the white house. he also becomes friendly with his uncle. the french family is very complicated. daniel chester french married his cousin -- cousin his name is french because is his first cousin it is also the nephew of benjamin brown french. lots of french is here.
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you all know who bb french is i hope, he was the commissioner of public buildings under lincoln. he is the man to whom lincoln said, i'm not going to spend one more penny for flood dumps for thisold house when the soldiers can't have blankets. well now, benjamin takes dan to the white house , to make the -- meet the grants, and french whispers, grant is not like abraham lincoln, with apologies to john marisnick. he then says something really rude about julia, which he records in his diary. julia greeted and i up the chimney. julia had a roving eye. anyway, he gets some work assigned to his father's influence to the sculptures from the top of the post offices, in st. louis. boston. it is a sort of the grading although he does great work, because he is paid per diem.
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he doesn't even get commissions. he's not happy, he decides to return to concord, and build a new studio. he needs a new inspiration, another minuteman. and again, the answer to his reputation building is very local. it's ralph waldo emerson. he does a bust of emerson, as an old man, emerson regales him with stories, so's you know, the more you work on it, the more it resembles me, the worse it looks. finally he says this is the face i see when i shave. that's his greatest compliment. again, this is french recording a great writer. it's uncanny how prosaic his diary entries are, but again, it's all in the sculpture. that becomes a full-length sculpture with emerson's famous overcoat, which was famous all over concord, because he walked around in this gigantic flowing coat. well, he developed some specialties along the way. one of them is as a sculptor of
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college symbols. misses his work in studio on a statue of thomas valadez. site challenged pupils, and this is the statue as it appears today at gallaudet college, with the founder or inspiration for the college signing. it's still there. so is this statue of john harvard, it's not in this location anymore, this is memorial hall. french became so influential, he decided that it should be moved. this statue according to harvard tradition, is venerated by day and urinated by night. there is something about a tradition of abuse of daniel's college statues. he did one for princeton, it was not his best work. as a young man who had died early so his parents funded a statue of
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him, a sweater. again it looks too modern for french. every time princeton won a football game which apparently was seldom, they would knock over the statue. so finally they took it off campus. perhaps the most famous of his challenge statues, and alma mater at columbia university. almost as soon as it was built, it was deemed by a baseball, allegedly hit almost 500 feet by the star of the columbia baseball team, who can guess who that was? lou gehrig, absolutely. 50 years 40 years later, someone planted an explosive device during the height of the protest against the vietnam war , and blew a gaping hole in the throne. it did not damage the statue but brewster, whoever the president was headed hauled off, it wasn't kingman
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brewster, he was yelled. hauled off the campus and stored for years. another specialty french develops, the civil war. he does this wonderful looming ulysses s grant, for philadelphia. he becomes an equestrian specialist, sort of. he has a guy named edward c potter. potter does the horses. french does the people. all there's a lot of assembly- line to public sculpture at the end of the 1973. same combination for general hooker in boston. these are big events. this is the dedication for the hooker equestrian in boston in the 1890s. he does draper, he finishes jay q8 ward sheridan, in albany, and he does this, i think his most beautiful civil war memorial. it's known as morning victory. meaning, you're not lamenting the fact that there is a
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victory. this is the figure of victory in morning for the melvin bradford -- melvin brothers. three of them died during the civil war, the living brother funded this beautiful memorial which is in the cemetery in concord. one died of disease, one at andersonville, and one at petersburg. his most famous work of the 19th century with this. he was hired by the world columbian exposition, the world's feral fair of 1893 in chicago, the white city. 148 sculptures were invited to produce works for that event, but he got the big gown, the republic was supposed to rival with the statue of liberty. it stood 65 feet high on a 35 foot base, and had reigned over the lagoon in the white city.
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carved on site by the way from a model he brought back from a second trip to europe, from paris this time. they build a stairway inside so that they could work on the head. the crown was illuminated by electricity, and the face, this beautiful supple clutter white city. all of the buildings and save for the one that later became the art institute and the science museum in chicago, all of them were made an element or combination of elements called jute. sick paste, which is made up of plaster of paris, cement, and glycerin. not a great idea to have the whole city made of glycerin in chicago, and guess what
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happened. yes, everything -- i mean, they would have had to tear it down, so i'm not sure that the fire happened spontaneously, but, all of it did burn down. the whole white city and the statue of the republic, supposedly the water was on fire, everything was so hot. the good news is that french made a couple of replicas, one was put up for the centennial of the state of illinois. and, it is in a park, in a traffic circle, a gilded version, and it has been ignored for years. but, the obama presidential library is being built right behind the republic, so it is going to have a renaissance. by now, he is a pretty acclaimed sculptor, although he has never topped the minuteman. and he thinks it is time for him to emulate his competitors slightly, older competitor augusta saint gardens and relocate. he buys a farmhouse in the berkshires, $3000 for 150 acres, and he replaces it
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with a country mansion, designed by a young architect named henry bacon, whom he has used for a few projects to date. they can then build a studio down the path from the house, and begins, and french begins his work on that studio, i hope you all see he has now lost his hair, the price of success. and he goes to work on a george washington equestrian with potter and it's his first international success. it is outside the museum in paris. this is a postcard he collected at the opening ceremony, with the music, the marseilles, and the national anthem, stars & stripes forever played by john susan. here he is in the first decade of the 20th century's, when he
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learns that the state of nebraska this capital city of lincoln appropriately enough once the statue of lincoln in time for 1909. he gets the great commission. now, saint gardens has already done his lincoln for chicago which is a tough act to follow, so french begins his research, and i found this interesting. what does a sculptor have to do to create a lincoln? the first thing he does is he gets a set of reserves photographs of abraham lincoln privately printed, tipton photographs, and reserve also sends french some photographs to consult individually in larger formats. we don't know which photograph he used, but he did say, he wants to show lincoln with the crushing weight of a war still to be one. and admits the more i study
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lincoln, the bigger he seems. it is as he says my lincoln problem. this is the first model. 36 inch model, he has lincoln with bowed head and arms clasped in front, he packs it off, takes it to lincoln nebraska, he meets a woman who had seen abraham lincoln at the lincoln douglas debates, and she says to him, i remember he had a curious way of standing before he was to speak. he stood with his hands clasped in front of him, as if he was collecting his thoughts. they then unpacked the model and put it on display and the woman said, you were there? he wasn't, but he had somehow intuited it. he called it his high watermark. it did not make it for 1909, it did not open until september 1912, 1500 pounds of fronds.
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william jennings bryan was there on the day he was dedicated, brian's said in the speech i found a new ski paper account, he said is there anyone in this audience he saw ibrahim lincoln? apparently, they said, 100 hands shot up. in 1912, 50 years later and brian says it must be compensation for what you suffered in that war, to have had the chance to look upon his sad face. a local lady read the gettysburg address which is inscribed in the back of the station -- statue by henry bacon. friends called this his high watermark, there it is, still in front of the capital has changed it is now the tallest state capital in the country, but the sculpture is still there. there he is in his smock, in the mid teens.
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he's so famous that theodore roosevelt asked him to join a new national commission for the fine arts. he has had enough of the way the national mall looks. it's too hard to get the dc government to clear land and make decisions or he's going to create a national commission. french agrees to serve. he actually sort of leaves his conservative republican roots, and takes a fancy to theodore roosevelt. taft is the one who forms the commission, and french goes to work there. this is the commission at work. daniel chester french of the head of the table. well, this is going to present a bit of a problem, because, the next big project is a project deferred since 1865, and that is a statue of lincoln in washington.
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now, washington has a statues of lincoln. thomas ball has a statue of the emancipator is already in washington. long binaries statue of lincoln is already in washington. but, the centennial commission is determined to build a temple to honor lincoln. and, this is the man they choose to do it. he looks very much like a businessman, this is made around that time, this is when he joined the board of my alma mater, the metropolitan museum of art, he became the american nest, who became its curator of sculpture, he did everything, acquired art, and, as you see, very much the dignified fellow. and, he is presiding now, over with a commission, decision of where to put this new building. one of the choices is union station.
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they discarded, this is the way union station looks when it was built, without much around it. it was discarded, because people thought commuters and passengers came through and they wouldn't pay enough attention to a lincoln statue that was near the railroad station. we lucked out there. next choice was at the base of the u.s. capital. well, we've already got this plan for a grant statue, maybe we shouldn't do it at the capital. what if we create a new avenue radiating from the capital intuited the other end? no, that doesn't seem like a great idea either. the soldiers home would be a great place. lincoln spent much time there. well, same problem as before, it is remote. so, we are not going to do it at the soldiers home. what about the old naval observatory on east street. lincoln spent time there, no, it was decided that that was a
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little obscure. my favorite alternative site is meridian hill, in columbia heights, i don't know why they decided not to do it there, but it could have been that there is already a statue of james buchanan. so, it seemed a little bit inappropriate. the battle gets down to these elaborately bearded man, uncle joe, the former speaker of the house at this point who had seen abraham lincoln in illinois , and john hey, that is young handsome john hay, now, the secretary of state, and hey ones south potomac park. at the end of what is going to be a reflecting pool. then, a swamp. and, uncle joe says, that be if he will ever let a memorial to lincoln be erected in that god swamp, he says. i would rather put the memorial
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in arlington. there was a. they were discussing arlington. someone said halfway down the road between gettysburg and washington. again, very very big discussions about where the site is. finally john hey comes forward and testifies before congress, he was of the immortals. he must not approach to close. his monument should stand alone, remote from the common habitations of man apart from the business and turmoil of the cities. isolated, distinguished, and serene. they choose west potomac park. it is not easy. they find a lot of water there and a lot of water as they dig but dig they did and, for an architect, after all of the drama about the site, there is no drama. henry bacon, the heir to the
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classical architecture ethos in america is chosen, and charles mckinnon had died, there was no one else. and he immediately envisions a copy of the parthenon in athens as the most appropriate tribute, to abraham lincoln, in the swamp. who then to do the sculpture? daniel chester french had been involved in competitions for his entire career. he almost lost the gallaudet commission, when a non-hearing sculptor came forward, and said he should be considered for the gallaudet. he competed for other commissions, he lost so he won some. now, he is 56 or 57 years old. he doesn't want to compete. so, henry bacon says okay, i'm
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going to hire my mentor and friend and no one really makes a fuss. vinny ream wants to do it, i left her out of the list of sculptures and studies in washington, her sculpture is in the capitol rotunda, she is still around. she saw lincoln. bacon chooses french. well, people are considering that there is a slight problem, the government is now funding this, okay? and it is costing a fortune to dig piles in the swamp. adding to the budget. they said whatever just take this same garden stature, make a replica, and put that in the lincoln memorial, a nice standing lincoln. well, i don't know what french said to henry bacon but it was apparently enough for bacon to tell mrs. saint gardens, who was a formidable lobbyist, that he found the idea, quote, repugnant, and that your husband would be turning over in his grave if he thought we were thinking of that.
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by the skin of his teeth, the idea was turned down. the idea for a seated lincoln is conceived and accepted. now there is one big problem, henry bacon is choosing his old employer, daniel chester french, but french is on the national commission for the fine arts. he's the chairman, he has to approve the choice. not even in washington, that's a little collocated. and by the way, french does not resign from the commission until after he gets the contract, and then he does resign. and he begins his work. he's got those photographs and now he acquires the bulk life mask those are not -- that's not damage he's doing there, with those nails, he is simply
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doing that to measure distances between the eyes and the nose and the mouse, that is what sculptors do. he acquired the path of lincoln's hands, he made casts of his own hand, in the exact form he wanted them to take in his proposed sculpture, really quickly within a couple of months he writes to bacon, it should interest you to know i am making models, i am feeling very much encouraged, i am of course suspicious of my friends enthusiasm. and there it is. that's the first memorial -- model of the lincoln memorial. then he said to henry bacon if there is any doubt of who is in charge he says when i got anything that is worthwhile i shall of course expect you to come up and see what i have you offer. french is in charge and his processes to make ever larger models. so, this is a 3 foot model, and then a 6 foot model. and, that is dan himself posing
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with it, with the little original model below the code to show you how it has proceeded. how are you going to do his clothes, someone asked? well, he's not going to put him in the kind of primitive clothes that george gray barnum had done for a lincoln in london. lincoln may have preferred to be codeless but his appreciation for the fitness of things would have led him to dress like the men about him. is it really is easy to just conventionally then peculiarly. i can't imagine bothering him to address with any affectation or even carelessness. photographs show his clothes were made of fine material and by a good tailor. there was absolutely nothing careless about them except maybe the way that they were worn. so, taft came and viewed this model in new york where french now has a studio, and is the
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lincoln memorial commission and national finance commission approved, french wants one more validation, he invites robert lincoln. robert lincoln says, there is robert, he says well, maybe you should bring it to me come in washington, and french says no, you have to come see it in studio, this goes on and on, i don't know if it was a power play, or not a powerfully -- tower play, but only when french did this work did robert come to see it. this is in the new york historical society. it is almost unexplained therein. there is the model for the lincoln memorial. it's more than that, french ingeniously goes down the shell of the building is is what i will be making is a 12 foot high statue it will be dwarfed in this atrium. i wanted to be 19 feet. just like that he figures it out.
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and, it is adding $50,000 to the budget, which was a lot of money in the teens. and he says that's the only way i'll do it. and besides, i'm not doing bronze as you speculated, i'm doing marble, it's harmonious with the marble unseen. anyway, he makes this plaster had to fit a 19 foot statue. he has it taken down to washington, he has it hung in the atrium, exactly where it will be. and, that is what robert lincoln finally sees. and, that is what he got, french gets his way luckily because the proportions and symmetry is perfect. and, robert lincoln apparently approved. so, here are the unsung heroes of the lincoln memorial. the brothers, for riccio, julio, a roxio and tullio. i dislike saying their names. these were the italian marble cutters, who worked in the
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bronx, in a gigantic shed not far from where yankee stadium would rise in just a few years. and, they employed marble carvers. they got the models, and they worked at it, i found this amazing magazine storage, where the models and the heads were illustrated in this magazine, in the studio, bears the model from which they are working. here is a cluttered studio. my favorite story is, when they broke for bathroom breaks or meals, one of the brothers would hand the chisel to the next, and the next brother would continue, as if they were carving. this is the farthest for the family trade. at a certain moment, here is the most jovial of guests they
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would break for macaroni which one of the brothers would make every day. almost like having frank williams as a friend, there is always food involved. not until 1920, did french declare it's done, and then it is shipped in 30 marble blocks, some of which were defective, and had to be replaced, and taken and set up in washington, this is a remarkable picture made in the middle of that process. here it is, this is a cover of my book, fully assembled, with french and henry bacon standing in front of it. i'm sure you've all been there, that gives you an impression of the size of sculpture. french decides he's done all he can do. he goes off to italy, and, sees his daughter married there. doesn't come back until it is time for that opening day, i
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showed you, in the beginning. in this memorial day, 1922, and, the folks who gathered, by the way, would see that inscription, he was not supposed to write to the inscription. the man who did, the original author, was robert underwood johnson, ulysses s grant editor at the century magazine. he got the gig. he was going to write the inscription, i don't know what happened i couldn't find the answer, but it was, the work was eventually done by the new york tribune's art critic. a man named rocher teasers. and he wrote these words in this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he said the union the memory of abraham lincoln is enshrined forever. perfect, right? it was absolutely attacks in 1922. disfiguring and erroneous, one described his achievements in
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emphasizing black freedom. well, maybe that was one of the points. because what followed is, the dedication ceremony from , in a way, and, that is the beginning of my book, but, getting towards the end of my talk. as a pageant gets underway, the north carolina born superintendent of public buildings, that was benjamin french's old job armed with guns and bayonets goes to the front of the audience were african-americans from washington had gathered early, to be present, for a statue dedicated to a man arguably they reviewed. and they said get out. this is not your area. there is a colored section in the back. and people were herded, even if they had tickets to section 5, which many of them did, became famous in the black press, section 5, they went back into
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the grass and weeds, said one black newspaper. the seats arranged for white people with chairs, those for colored people were benches, without backs, a day of jubilation turned into a scene of consternation and chagrin. some 21 prominent african- americans, including several federal officials, administrators, and the medford at howard university, alan leroy locke the first african- american road scholar walked out in protest. the people who stayed called their areas block, the french term, that is what the chicago defender described their ghetto of the day as. they watched from a distance of blocks away in an area designed to emphasize their second-class status and separateness. to add insult to injury, a group described as gray clad
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survivors of the confederate army received special seats of honor, alongside equally ancient veterans of the union. and african-american eyewitnesses saw cruel irony in the fact that such jim crow tourism of the grossest sort, had been shown by the hypocrites of this great nation. on a day devoted to lincoln. you don't see any of this in the coverage, in the new york times, the washington post, the washington star, the new york tribune. it is only in the chicago defender, and the newspapers published that afternoon, very vigorous -- african-american press of the day. w eb dubois decried the event under the headline lincoln harding james crowe and taft. as everyone gathered, gathered, not sure what's let them up to i get to show more of the crowd.
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only one african-american was on the top step. robert russell mouton. booker t. washington's successor as principal of the tuskegee institute. and what was reported in the white press is a generous gesture, organizers invited him to represent the colored people , and deliver a speech. well of course, since he was a person of color he had to submit his speech in advance to the harding administration. and, this is what mouton wrote in the original. so long as any group within our nation is denied the full protection of the law, then what lincoln calls his unfinished work remained unfinished still. and the memorial would be but a hollow mockery, unless we together can make real in our national life, and it would be unfinished where he stood. the heirs of the party of
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lincoln decided that was inappropriate, and they told mouton, which paragraph had to be struck from his address. mouton said he objected to having his works answered. and, the organizers said, you're absolutely free to not speak at all. so, mouton gave a truncated sanitized version of his speech , and, it remained unpublished for decades. what he really wanted to say. and, the outrage continue, but we never learned about in school, after he was done, he was ushered off the top step, as if he could no longer remain among the other dignitaries. and all this happened because william towered half-time comes on and says, how it would soft and lincoln's anguish to know that the south has come to realize that an assassin lobbed the section at his greatest friend.
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again, the defender, harding who accepted says much the same thing. was an abject attempt to justify in words of apology, the greatest act of the greatest man who ever lived. we will dedicated later on, so the chicago defender. this is not a real dedication. at the end of the day, robert lincoln probably stood with president harding, and uncle joe cannon, and, the all white dedication, practically all white ended. and the lincoln memorial stood in place. i will say that daniel chester french's involvement didn't end because he could not bear the way it looked at night. henry bacon had added some extra layers of wax to the skylight, and this is the way it looks, serve french got ge to do -- in those days ge was
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really robust they could afford a lighting study to look at the difference from just an early effort to light the statue. and, they're interested, until the new life of the lincoln memorial. its image was thus for 10 or 12 years. eleanor roosevelt helped change that. when marian anderson was not allowed to sing in the dar building in washington, eleanor helped organize a memorable easterday concert, in the lincoln memorial, they thought a few thousand people might come in the rain, 50,000 people came, and, marian anderson send my country 'tis of thee, sweet
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land of liberty, from the steps of the lincoln memorial, changing the iconography of that place forever and permanently. so did frank capra, in 1939, mister smith goes to washington, one of the first things mister smith seizes the lincoln memorial. and, a man of color, with tears streaming down his face reads the final words of the gettysburg address inscribed there. young mister lincoln, which is about new salem ends with the words of the music of the battle hymn and the lincoln memorial. it is now the icon of all icons. but, not yet the apogee which comes in 1963. as the epicenter of the march on washington, where the leaders of the civil rights movement white and black gather at the memorial, for these
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ceremonies, for that august day. by the way, you see doctor king's second from the right, on the bottom row next to him on his right, is april a brand also has his own statue in union station after the third from the left, on top is the young john lewis, who is still a member of congress. and of course, oh, there he is being interviewed by john daly. of what's my line fame, writing before this moment, the i have a dream speech begins five score years ago, a great american in his symbolic shadow we signed today -- we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation. this momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of people -- slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
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it has been so long since then, that in 2013 there was a 50th anniversary ceremony at which the speech was repeated. what else has the lincoln memorial become? it's the place where president- elect suspended last night as president-elect. it is the ceremonial launching pad of the inauguration. here is one. here is another. barack obama, and the trump family. so, it continues, as i don't know, one can say is its ideal best, unifying symbol, a symbol of hope and aspiration. it is also a symbol of mourning and distress. this is the famous cartoon published on november 23, 1963, the signal our sorrow at the death of john kennedy. this is
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lincoln responding to the election of barack obama. and yes, there was a cartoon, a lot of cartoons about the election of donald trump, how would the lincoln memorial react? who knows, but this was one. and it's just surprise, that's all it says, right? this is daniel chester french in front of the memorial he built as an old man. robert lincoln used to visit it, he would stop, the driver would hold his car and he would go up and say, isn't it magnificent. by then, the iconography and meaning had not changed, i'm rather glad it has changed from its original concept. i could not help throwing this in because i took judy collins to see it and she was so overcome, that she did a spontaneous rendition of this land is your land in front of the station, of the statue.
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four years after it was dedicated, young african- american from washington, who is employed as a bus boy, because he could not get much work after serving as a historian's assistant visited the lincoln memorial. he was soon to unroll alongside thurgood marshall at lincoln university. he was destined to emerge one day as a poet and social activist. his name was langston hughes and this is what he wrote in 1926, true then, true now, and true hopefully it will be true always. let's go see old abe, sitting in the marble and the moonlight, sitting lonely in the marble and the moonlight. client, for 10,000 centuries, old abe, client for 1 million million years, client and get a
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voice forever against the timeless walls of time. old abe. daniel chester french had endeavored to produce an adequate statue of the nation's best-loved man. and in so doing, he produced the nation's best-loved statue. it took a while for it together -- to gather the gravitas and multiplicity of meanings it's now evokes, but what could be more fitting and proper, that this and driver now reflects the full panoply of hopes and dreams of all the american people. thank you. thank you.
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thank you. i am sure that is mostly for jen daniel chester french but i'll take what i can guess. i am told by edna that we have a little bit of time for questions. please come forward. yeah. >> oh, wait. okay. >> there are two images, or pictures that i find really wonderful. one with fidel castro at the feet of lincoln, and call me a criminal. are there any other world people you can tell us about? >> i'm sorry, in the days before security became onerous, it was a must stop for world leaders, i will say. i tried to do as many as i could find, the one that we don't have, the one that i would be most interested to see,
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is the midnight visit of richard nixon to the statue, to commune with lincoln in the hours leading up to his decision to resign. as far as we know even the white house photographer, who was with him every second of every day did not take that picture. but yes, i know the others. any others? studies could you compare the visual iconography of this statue with the iconography of the gettysburg address? >> that's a heavy question. compare the visual iconography to the literary iconography. both are considered masterpieces in their respective genres when belts, both of accumulated additional meeting over the years. gettysburg is not just a funeral oration, it is the
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rededication of the american founding, to the new birth, and all that that entails. the statue was built, clearly of by and for white people, and it has now become an international and multiracial symbol of opportunity. and of course, we have the intertwining, of the iconography, because, there were debates about whether anything should appear on the walls of the lincoln memorial. as you know, there are -- everything is symbolic. from the number of pillars outside, to the 36 states that are listed, and then more states on top, the 38 states, and then, 48 states and add a little hawaii and alaska around the back. but of course, the words of the second inaugural, and the words of the gettysburg address are etched in the walls of the
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memorial atrium, edged by one of daniel chester french as students named evelyn beatrice longman, who did a lot of forwarding on his statues and was one of his acolytes and admirers. so by the way i wish i could say french wanted adjusted those two great addresses, he also wanted the bixby letter and the springfield farewell address to be in the lincoln memorial. probably best with just those two. thank you. >> this is a special edition of american tv, a sample of the compelling history programs that air every weekend on american history tv, like lectures and history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nations
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history. enjoy american history tv, now and every weekend, on c-span three. next, historians examine the different ways women experience the civil war looking at class race and geography. we discussed the differences between union generals and their wives, the homefront, and the difficulties of enslaved women. taking place at the lincoln form symposium. >> as i understand it, this panel is in response to some of you filling out those lovely questionnaires at the lincoln forum really trying to respond to the interest going on, i am most apologized in earlier iterations, kate windsor who wanted to be here is called away to a memorial this afternoon, but will be with us tomo


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