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Daniel Chester French

Daniel Chester French (April 20, 1850-1931) was an American sculptor. 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.

He was born at Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Henry Flagg French, a lawyer, who for a time was assistant-secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury.

After a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, French worked on his father's farm. While visiting relatives in Brooklyn, New York, he spent a month in the studio of John Q. A. Ward, then began to work on commissions, and at the age of twenty-three received from the town of Concord, Massachusetts, an order for his well-known statue The Minute Man, which was unveiled April 19, 1875 on the centenary of the Battle of Concord.

Previously French had gone to Florence, Italy, where he spent a year with Thomas Ball.

French's best-known work is Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial at Washington, D.C.

Among his other works are:

Death Staying the Hand of the Sculptor, a memorial for the tomb of the sculptor Martin Milmore, in the Forest Hills cemetery, Boston; this received a medal of honor at Paris, in 1900.

A monument to John Boyle O'Reilly, Boston; Gen. Cass, National Hall of Statuary, Washington; Dr. Gallaudet and his First Deaf-Mute Pupil, Washington; the colossal Statue of the Republic, for the Columbian Exposition at Chicago; statues of Rufus Choate (Boston), John Harvard (Cambridge, Mass.), and Thomas Starr King San Francisco, California, a memorial to the architect Richard M. Hunt, in Fifth Avenue, opposite the Lenox library, New York, and a large Alma Mater, near the approach to Columbia University, New York. In collaboration with Edward Clark Potter he modelled the George Washington, presented to France by the Daughters of the American Revolution; the General Grant in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, and the General Joseph Hooker in Boston.

French became a member of the National Academy of Design (1901), the National Sculpture Society, the Architectural League, and the Accademia di San Luca, of Rome.

Daniel Chester French
In 1940, French was selected as one of five artists to be honored in a series of postage stamps dedicated to great Americans.

Notable Works