We were looking for a great photo for our What's Open on Presidents' Day Post when we came across this photo of Abraham Lincoln as he was memorialized by sculptor Thomas Ball in the Emancipation Memorial or Emancipation Statue.
Since tomorrow is the actual date of Lincoln's birth, we thought we'd share it with our readers. Perhaps, some of you will stop by and see it to honor the man and the spirit of Black History Month.
(Photograph from the Boston Public Library Collection circa 1877-1895)
It's located in Park Square, but we had never noticed the monument before this research pointed us to it. The memorial is still there today but the view that once existed from the Boston Common and Statehouse is now blocked.
Here's how it looked circa 1930 in this photo from the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library.
To orient yourself with the photo above, here's the area (with the Emancipaton Statue as a green triangle just below the words Park Square) from the 1912 Bromley Atlas. (Source: State Library of Massachusetts.)
About the Emancipation Statue
In Boston, this is called the Emancipation Statue. Moses Kimball gave the sculpture to the city in 1874. It's a copy of the original work by Thomas Ball called the Emancipation Memorial in Washington DC.
The Smithsonian American Art Museums descibes the statue in their inventory of outdoor sculputure.
" A portrait of Abraham Lincoln standing by a kneeling male slave, his proper left hand raised as he is about to emancipate the slave. In his proper right hand, which rests on a bronze podium, Lincoln holds an unrolled copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. To the rear of the figures is a whipping post, chains, shackles, and a frayed whip. On each corner of the podium are fasces and around the base of the podium are thirteen stars. A bas-relief of George Washington decorates the angled face of the podium and a Union shield decorates the inner face of the podium."
The artiist, Thomas Ball, was born in Charlestown and is also the sculptor of the Public Garden's iconic statue of George Washington.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: from the Boston Public Library and State Library of Massachusetts