The first sculpture in our series “Sculpted to Inspire” is a likeness of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, sculpted by John Gutzon Borglum in 1919. This piece was given to the State Library by the T.R. Club of Massachusetts* in 1945.
John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (March 25, 1867 – March 6, 1941) was an American artist and sculptor of Danish descent. He was famous for creating the monumental Presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. Borglum met and was influenced by world famous sculptor Auguste Rodin.
Borglum did these sculptures:
● Abraham Lincoln’s head carved from a six-ton block of marble was done in 1908 and was exhibited in Theodore Roosevelt's White House. It can be found in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.
● Borglum was asked to do a sculpture of Robert E. Lee at Stone Mountain in Georgia in 1915. He decided to do a group featuring Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis on horseback followed by a column of soldiers. He finished Robert E. Lee’s head but was fired from this project in 1925. Nothing of Borglum’s work remains, since the next artist they hired destroyed Robert E. Lee’s head.
● He carved four President’s heads: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt at Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills in South Dakota from 1927-1941. Borglum came to South Dakota in 1924. On March 6, 1941 he died. His son Lincoln “put the finishing touches on his father’s vision” of Mount Rushmore. Borglum felt: "The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt."
*Theodore Roosevelt Club of Massachusetts
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library