The statues of Charles Sumner and the Hiker both connect to stories worth telling, well told in the quotes below. The Sumner statue story leads back to a much earlier Boston proposal that was rejected because the artist Anne Whitney was a woman. The Hiker statue story leads on to a much later time when fifty country-wide bronze replicas of Kitson’s original became part of a scientific study.
Both statues have occupied their spaces for many decades*, with no hints so far that they will depart. *Sumner since 1900, The Hiker since 1947
Charles Sumner in Harvard Square
“Shortly after Sumner’s death in 1874, a competition was held to design a monument to him. Boston artist Anne Whitney initially beat out a roster of well-known competitors…. Nevertheless, the judges disqualified Whitney when they discovered she was a woman. Claiming that it would be improper for a woman to sculpt a man’s legs, they chose Thomas Ball’s design instead—an ironic story behind an artwork intended to honor Sumner’s fight for equality. Twenty-seven years later, Whitney cast her original design in bronze, with a few minor alterations. It is now located in Harvard Square.” ( quote from Public Art Boston about Sumner statue)
The Hiker in Arsenal Square
“The Hiker is a statue created by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson. It commemorates the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish–American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Philippine–American War. The first version of it was made for the University of Minnesota in 1906, but at least 50 copies were made, and were erected very widely across the United States. …. Kitson’s work proved to be very popular, largely because of its realism and historical accuracy. In 1921, the Gorham Manufacturing Company, located in Providence, Rhode Island, bought the rights to the statue, and over the next 44 years Gorham cast at least 50 Hiker statues.
Because of the wide distribution of the statues, they were used in a 2009 study measuring the effects of air pollution over the last century. ” ( quote from Wikipedia article about the Hiker)
Resources with links
Earlier posts about Anne Whitney and Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson: