Thursday, February 19, 2009

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento Statue

The State Library had a question about a statue on the Commonwealth Mall. The statue is of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. He established the first public school in Argentina. He was a close associate of Horace Mann and was elected President of Argentina in 1868. (The people asking the question thought that the governor gave a speech. This proved not to be true.)

On the internet there was a newspaper article that the statue had been given to the city of Boston.

“The fifteen foot high statue of Sarmiento’s is a gift that was originally offered by the Argentine government in 1913”(Boston City Record, vol. 65, p. 348, 1973). John “Honey” Fitzgerald, the Mayor, gave permission for Boston to receive it.

It was shipped to Boston 60 years later, in 1973. Kevin White formed a committee to decide what to do with the statue (Lucas, Peter “Is Kevin White’s Statue Tall Enough?” Boston Globe December 28, 2005). It was decided to put it on the Commonwealth Mall between Gloucester and Hereford Streets.

In the Boston City record vol. 65 for 1973, on page 378 there is a sizable entry talking about the dedication ceremony. On Monday April 21, 1973 “Mayor Kevin White dedicated the statue of nineteenth century Argentine educator Domingo F. Sarmiento.”

The dedication began at 11:30 am and both the Mayor and Argentine Ambassador Carlos Manual Muniz spoke briefly. The statue was designed by artists at the Argentine School of Fine Arts.

-Naomi Allen, Reference Librarian