Salute to Women Sculptors along Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Friends and family below statue of Domingo Sarmiento in November 2009
Women’s March for America in Boston, Commonwealth Avenue (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The route of the Women’s March in January along Commonwealth Avenue in Boston revived my interest in the women’s art that’s always waiting there. Then Women’s History Month this March got me strolling through the snow to document and honor what I’ve learned: Women sculptors created five of the nine artworks along the mall. Here are their monuments in the sequence you would see them on a walk from the Boston Public Garden to Charlesgate East.
Click on blue text for links to information about statues and artists. Click on photos for full frames and captions with quotes from Public Art Boston.
1. Memorial for Patrick Andrew Collins (1844-1905) was created by Theo Alice Kitson and her husband Henry Kitson in 1908.
This bust commemorates the second Irish-born mayor of Boston, who died unexpectedly while in office.
His love for both his native land and his adopted country is shown through the two allegorical figures flanking the granite base.
One wears a crown of laurel leaves and holds a shield, representing Liberty;
the other wears a crown of shamrocks and holds a harp, symbolizing Erin, or Ireland.
Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson (1871 – 1932) from Wikipedia
Morison wrote about the voyages of christopher Columbus.
Morison personally navigated the voyage routes
The sculptor included bronze forms of sea life around the granite
Jemcks designed the naturalistic setting and the bronze statue.
Lucy Stone in foreground with Phillis Wheatley to the right and Abigail Adams to the left
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
Lucy Stone (1818-1893)
Abigail Adams ( 1744-1818)
For context and background, watch video Boston Women’s Memorial – A Video for Primary Source and NEA.
visit to Lucy Stone 2009
Visit to Phillis Wheatley 2009
As president of Argentina from 1868 to 1874, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento promoted the development of public education in his country.
The Argentine government presented this work as a gift to the City of Boston in 1973.
textured bronze sculpture above a cement base
signed by Argentinian sculptor Ivette Campignion 1973
“Known as the father of public education in his homeland, Argentina, Domingo Sarmiento (1811-1888) was also that country’s president. Sarmiento was a disciple of American educator Horace Mann and his wife Mary. In the 1860s, while serving as Minister in the Argentina Embassy, he initiated a number of educational projects between North and South America.” …from Boston Immigrant Trail/ Back Bay
5. Monument to Norse explorer Leif Eriksson created by Anne Whitney, dedicated 1887.
When Boston philanthropist Eben N. Horsford commissioned the statue, some people believed that Eriksson and his crew landed on the shore of Massachusetts.
However, most scholars now consider their settlement Vinland to be located on the Canadian coast.
Two bronze plaques on the sculpture’s base show Eriksson and his crew landing on a rocky shore and, later, sharing the story of their discovery.
Originally sited to overlook the Charles River, Eriksson stands atop a boulder and shields his eyes as if surveying unfamiliar terrain.
No need to go in the snow, but good to go in better weather. Use Boston Art Commission interactive map for Back Bay.
Collins memorial, between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets
Morison memorial, between Exeter and Fairfield Streets
Boston Women’s Memorial between Fairfield and Gloucester Streets
Sarmiento statue, between Gloucester and Hereford Streets
Leif Eriksson monument, between Massachusetts Ave. and Charlesgate East
So great to discover these female artists! I had no idea that there’s a women’s memorial on Commonwealth. Very cool! Interesting to learn about both the artists and their subjects. Thanks Deb, for bringing these women and a their statues to my attention.
Thank you, Sharon, for your motivating words! As I learned from the presenter in the video about the Boston Women’s Memorial, there were only two statues of historical women (rather than symbolic like Liberty or Victory) in all of Boston, before the Wheatley/Stone/Adams memorial came into being in 2003.
[…] this from the Friends of the Public Garden post during Women’s History Month, when I researched women sculptors on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The sculptures in these four fountains are smaller scale than the two by men. All four are bronze […]
I love the Women’s Memorial–I used to walk over to look at it every so often when I worked in that neighborhood. But now I find myself thinking–one memorial for all the women who have had such an influence in Boston and the rest of the country?
Hey, Great images. I am looking forward to see more of your work.
[…] first post about women artists represented on Public Art Walk Boston included art by both Anne Whitney and Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson on Commonwealth Avenue Mall. That was in March 2017. Now almost a year later, I will wrap up the promised project with their […]
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