Charles Sumner statue

Charles Sumner statue, Boston, public art

Public Art : Charles Sumner statue

Sculptor : © Thomas Ball

Description : A bronze statue of outspoken Massachusetts Republican senator Charles Sumner (1811-1874).

Date Unveiled : 1878

Location : Mr Sumner can be found in the Public Gardens, Boston, Massachusetts.

Controversy : When Sumner died in 1874 a competition was announced to design a monument in honor of the outpoken abolitionist. The winner was local artist Anne Whitney (and family friend of Sumner) but when they discovered she was a woman they were so appalled they disqualified her. Reason? They believed it inappropriate for a female to sculpt a man's legs. Hmm, and pray tell what of a man's genitals? So much for Sumner's fight for equality!

Whitney had the laugh last 27 years later when her original plaster model (which she had held on to for all those years) was cast in bronze and erected in Harvard Square. She was by this time in her early eighties.

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