Jim Haas recently published a new book on the life of sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil, the creator of the Standing Liberty Quarter and other numismatic products. Tomorrow he's becoming part of numismatic history himself, helping transport fifteen plasters of MacNeil's works to a new home. Here's his report.
MacNeil's Architectural League of New York Medal
Following MacNeil's death in October 1947, his widow Ceil Muench MacNeil donated at least eighteen plasters to the Swope museum in Terre Haute.
In a call to the curator earlier this year I learned that the space where they had been stored for more than fifty years, was going to be repurposed come spring, and the plasters de-accessed.
They had been offered to College Point's Poppenhusen Institute a decade ago, but there was never any money in the budget to have them packed and shipped to the town where MacNeil had had his studio for almost fifty years. He served on the Institute's Board of Control for thirty of those years and over the course of time, it had acquired four of his works, one of which I donated and another that he had given to the public school I attended from 1948 to 1956. Before I ever knew who he was, I had seen the model of his group Pere Marquette frequently from first through eighth grades. Another work in its collection is one by Carol Brooks MacNeil and his nine-foot model of Portland's Coming of the White Man.
On this coming Monday, November 14th, I'll be driving a rented van to Terre Haute with a current board member and together we will pack and return fifteen of those plasters to the town where they were modeled and to the Institute where he spent much of his time. One of them is his plaster of the Architectural League of New York Medal that he modeled in 1910.
It will then be the repository of almost twenty MacNeil pieces along with every bit of my MacNeil-related research. My goal is to make the Institute a destination site for anyone seeking to do research on MacNeil, and offer the opportunity to see the largest collection of his works anywhere.
There is still no funding source, but the choice was simple.
Good luck on the journey! We'll look forward to learning more about the collections at the Poppenhusen Institute.
For more information on the Poppenhusen Institute, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: HERMON ATKINS MACNEIL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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