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Recast of historic ‘Standing Lincoln’ statue placed at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site this week

Cornish, NH – More than 1,000 people welcomed President Abraham Lincoln's statue back to Cornish, New Hampshire, Sunday where the original “Standing Lincoln” was created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) beginning in 1885. The statue is considered to be the most important sculpture of Lincoln dating to the 19th century.

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A recast of the famous bronze statue, created from plaster sculptures in the park collection, was unveiled on June 26 at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, New Hampshire’s only National Park. Governor Maggie Hassan addressed the crowd. The event began with prelude music by the 12th NH Regiment Serenade Band at 1:00 p.m. followed by the unveiling ceremony at 2 p.m. There were presentations by Thayer Tolles, Marica F. Vilcek Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Harold Holzer. The Lincoln statue was placed near the entrance and greet visitors to the park.The original, officially known as “Abraham Lincoln: The Man,” was installed in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in 1887 and remains there to this day. The New York “Evening Post” described the statue in the year of its dedication as “the most important achievement American sculpture has yet produced.” The sculpture's realism and authentic likeness of Lincoln has influenced generations of artists around the world.

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While the “Standing Lincoln” statue has been recast several times, it will finally find its way home to the park named after its sculptor. “This year is the centennial of the National Park Service and we celebrated the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site’s 50thanniversary last year, so we wanted to commemorate both events,” said Henry Duffy, Curator of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. “Lincoln is a real draw and has a lot of purpose here. The original statue was made entirely in Cornish so New Hampshire has a real sense of ownership.”

Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ best-known works include the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial on the Boston Common and monuments to Civil War generals John A. Logan in Chicago and William Tecumseh Sherman in New York. Saint-Gaudens’ $20 "double eagle" gold piece is considered one of the most beautiful American coins ever minted. He established the Cornish Colony, a community of artists, writers, musicians, and architects.

This project is made possible by the National Park Service; New Hampshire State Arts Council; The Paul and Klara Porzelt Foundation; and the American people through their entrance fees paid to visit Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and other National Parks. Additional support has been provided by Swenson Granite Works, Concord, New Hampshire; Campbell Plaster and Iron, Rutland, Vermont; and Skylight Studios, Woburn, Massachusetts. The bronze was cast at Bollinger Atelier in Tempe, Arizona. Conservation and bronze work was done by the Historic Preservation and Training Center, National Park Service, and Brian Griffin, lead conservator for the Gettysburg National Military ParkMonument Shop. 

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is located 12 miles south of West Lebanon, New Hampshire, and 11 miles north of Claremont, New Hampshire, on NH route 12A. The park’s museum buildings are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October. The park’s grounds are open from dawn to dusk throughout the year. More information about the park can be found at www.nps.gov/saga.