Woman of the Century/Anne Whitney
WHITNEY, Miss Anne, sculptor, was born in Watertown, Mass , the youngest child of a large family. She is descended from the earliest New England colonists, and can trace her ancestry to an eminent English family that flourished before the colonies were founded. Her parents were of the advanced liberal thinkers of their time, and were among the earliest converts to what is called Liberal Christianity. From them she inherits a large faith in humanity, a vital belief in the possibilities of human betterment, and an unflinching hostility to every form of oppression and injustice. Her childhood and youth were passed under most favorable conditions. Whatever would contribute to her development was furnished by her parents, and she was taught in the best schools, under the instruction of the noblest teachers. The center of a loving household, she was encompassed with affection and was wisely cared for in all respects. She very- early expressed herself in poetry, for she possessed a high order of imaginative power, and it seemed certain, for some few years, that she would devote herself to literature. Her earlier poems have never been collected, and not until 1859 did she publish a volume of poems. Their quality was very remarkable, and they were as original as they were vigorous. Stately in rhythm and large in thought and feeling, they are earnest, strong and courageous. The ablest reviewers pronounced them "unexcelled in modern times." A mere accident gave a different bent to her genius, and she decided to make sculpture her profession, and began to work immediately. There were not a dozen persons in New England at that time working in sculpture, and there were no teachers. Her own genius and her native force were called into requisition, for she had no other resource. Her first work was portrait busts of her father and mother, which proved that she had not mistaken her vocation. Then she attempted her first ideal work, putting into marble her beautiful conception of "Lady Godiva," which was exhibited in Boston. That was followed by "Africa," a colossal statue of another type It was a masterpiece of genius, and w:is received by the public in a most gratifying manner. "The Lotus-Eater," as fabled by the ancients and reproduced by Tennyson, was her next work, and then she went to Europe, where she spent five years, studying, drawing and modeling in the great art centers of the Old World. While abroad, she executed several very fine statues, "The Chaldean Astronomer," studying the stars; "Toussaint L'Ouverture." the St. Domingo chief, statesman and governor, and "Roma," which has been called a "thinking statue." She returned home with completer technical skill and larger conceptions of art, and has worked diligently since in her studio. The State of Massachusetts commissioned her to make a statue in marble of Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary patriot, for the national gallery in Washington, and one in bronze for Adams square, Boston. She went to Rome to execute the commission, and while abroad spent another year in Paris, where she made three heads, one of a beautiful girl, an- other of a roguish peasant child, and the third an old peasant woman, coiffed with the marmotte, who could not be kept awake, and so Miss Whitney modeled her asleep. The last, in bronze, is to be seen in the Art Museum, Boston. Her latest great works are a sitting statue of Harriet Martineau, the most eminent Englishwoman of the present century, which is of marble and of heroic size. It stands in Wellesley College, Massachusetts. The other is an ideal statue of "Lief Ericsson," the young Norseman, who, A. D. 1000, sailed from Norway, and, skirting Iceland and Greenland, sailed into Massa- chusetts Bay and discovered America. It is colossal in size and in bronze, and stands at the entrance of a park, near Commonwealth avenue, Boston. A replica of that statue stands in Milwaukee on the lake bluff. Of medallions, fountains and portrait busts Miss Whitney has made many. She has made portrait busts of President Steams, of Amherst College; President Walker, of Harvard; Professor Pickering, of Harvard: William Lloyd Garrison, Hon. Samuel Sewall, of Boston; Mrs. Alice Freeman Palmer, ex-president of Wellesley College; Adeline Manning, Miss Whitney's inseparable friend and house-mate; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances E. Willard, Lucy Stone, Mary A. Livermore and others. She will exhibit several of her works in the World's Fair, in Chicago, in 1893. Her home is on the western slope of Beacon Hill, where she passes much of her diligent and devoted life, and where are clustered many of her most beautiful sketches, for her studio is peopled with "the beings of her mind."