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100 Cities / 100 Memorials & Memorial Hunters Club

Blog postings about our program to support the identification, rescue and conservation of our Nations WW1 Memorials.

Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Brown County Texas has submitted their grant application to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials. Here is a profile on their project from their submission:


Restoring the World War I Memorial Brown County Texas

Very few if any American Legion Posts have done as much to restore, preserve, and improve their World War I Memorials as American Legion Post 196 in Brownwood, Texas. Our local World War I Memorial was placed at Brownwood High School in 1921. Funds were raised for the memorial by the Brownwood High School Class of 1921. Brownwood High School opened in 1917 and closed in 1961 when a new high school was built across town.

The World War I Memorial was located behind a bush, and most people had forgotten about it. With the help of the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial committee, the original World War I Memorial was moved from its old location to a new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial location in the 36th Division Memorial Park in Brownwood.

The World War I Memorial that honors those who served, fought, and died in World War I was weathered, aged, and forgotten. This was a sacred memorial to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars. Most people have forgotten the shared sacrifice that united our country in World War I. In 19 months of war from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918, our country of 92 million people suffered 117,465 total fatalities of which 53,402 were combat deaths. Additionally, there were 204,002 wounded. Many countries in the world sustained a "lost generation". Many soldiers knew they had a "rendezvous with death". The book "Miracle at Belleau Wood" by Axelrod should be required reading for every American.

We moved our old World War I Memorial to its new site in 2016. The new memorial site included the old World War I Memorial along with a new granite tablet with the names of the 39 Brown County veterans who died in World War I, a new plaque with the wording from the old World War I Memorial that had become difficult to read, and another new plaque telling about the original World War I Memorial. The cost just for the World War I portion of the memorial was approximately $12,000. The profound words on the original World War I Memorial were these:

To those men from Brown County
Who rendered valiant service in the world war;
Who feared not;
Who believed in the sacred principles
Upon which this republic is founded;
Who preferred death to slavery;
Who signified a willingness to give their lives
And to perpetuate democracy;
This monument is reverently dedicated.

The new Central Texas Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 2016. The podium for the dedication was placed in front of the old World War I Memorial. United States Congressman Mike Conaway was our guest speaker. The memorial was dedicated at exactly 11:00 AM on November 11, 2016.


The Central Texas Veterans' Memorial honors all Veterans, but especially the 259 Veterans from Brown County who made the ultimate sacrifice from World War I forward. There were 39 fatalities in World War I, 198 in World War II, 8 in the Korean War, 11 in the Vietnam War, and 3 after September 11, 2001. The memorial consists of 12 granite tablets around a 75 foot diameter concrete circle. 

They honor the 259 local heroes; Fighting 36th Infantry Division-Texas National Guard-that trained here in World War II; Camp Bowie-Brownwood Texas; Major General Fred Walker-commanding general of the 36th Division in World War II and representing all officers from Brown County; Commando Charles Kelly-The One Man Army-the first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Europe in World War II and representing all enlisted men from Brown County - especially those who returned from all wars with PTSD; the Lost 36th Division Battalion in the Vosges Mountains of France; the Lost 36th Division Battalion on Java; and Colonel Jack Bradley who was Brownwood's most decorated combat veteran. We moved the old World War II Memorial from across town to this new site. We also have plaques honoring veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Additionally, we have a concrete walking trail just under 1/2 mile long with a handicapped water fountain and benches for people to sit and rest. There is a handicapped accessible sidewalk leading to the VA Clinic and to Brownwood Regional Medical Center with blacktopped parking and multiple van accessible handicapped parking spaces. There is an area for Veterans' Memorial Bricks which includes bricks with the names of many local veterans.

American Legion Post 196 is very proud to have been vitally involved with the restoration, preservation, modernization, and memorialization of the original World War I Memorial and the new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial in Brownwood, Texas.


Get YOUR 100C/100M project submitted early so we can proudly present it to the world!

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Some Recent Question From You...

Here are three great questions that have come up recently:


I'll paraphrase the questions

Question from Donna:

Our preliminary project budget breakdown is estimated at $3000 in
materials and $4000 in labor. If we can get local firms, and professionals
to donate some or all of the time and materials needed to
execute the project, can that in-kind donation count as part of the match for the program?

Donna

Since it is not specified in the competition manual, we met with the program executive committee and got a ruling on this one, . Here is the answer.

Answer:

YES, in-kind donations by a business or supplier can be considered for the match however: 

1. The rate or cost of the in-kind donation is at a standard, commercial and competitive rate they would charge for that service if it were paid for. 

2. The company provides a letter declaring the service and it's commercial value. 

3. They provide an invoice for the service with a line item of the donation that zeroes it out. 

It would however exclude volunteer labor.. IE if a group of legionnaires come out and help you do gardening, you can't just throw a value on that and submit it to the match.


Question from James:

I just ran into this site by a bit of happenstance. Any chance the Commission might accept late submissions. Our city's Eagle Memorial is in dire need of rehabilitation. Thanks!

James

Answer:

The submission period for grant applications is open until June 15, 2017 and the project needs to be scheduled for completion by November 11, 2018 - so I think you should be in good shape. 

A great way to get the ball rolling is to contact your local American Legion post, VFW post and Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. These folks will likely have been involved with the original establishment of the memorial. The American Legion and the VFW are also both supporting members of the program - They can be powerful allies and partners in getting these service projects happening.

Question from Mathew:

Our Central School District is working on a monument project involving a bronze tablet that was cast in 1919 with the names of men who died in service from the central towns in our county. The tablet was mounted on the front wall of the county courthouse and remained there until the local American Legion post relocated, to which they took the tablet with them.
Over the last 100 years, the tablet has had many homes but due to recent arrangements was in storage. Students with the school are attempting to raise money and awareness to establish a local monument for WWI veterans using that tablet.
As far as I know, as county historian, we have no memorial dedicated solely to WWI veterans. Would this project be eligible for a grant?

Mathew

Answer:

YES, provided that the project is slated to be completed prior to 11/11/2018. 

Your project accomplished all the goals we are after: 

  • Restoring and preserving the honor to the vets, 
  • Creating a community awareness of the community's connection to WW1 and 
  • Teaching the next generation about that. 

I am not on the jury so I have no sway - however,  I just want to say: Thank you! 

Additionally, if you get a preliminary grant application done and submitted , we can promote the project on the US WW1 Commission's website, giving your project visibility, credibility and some sway with local funding sources. You can updated your submission after all the way until the submission deadline on June 15th, 2017.


We will post more questions as they come up in these final months before the grant application deadline on June 15, 2017. Thank you all for your interest and incredible dedication in getting these wonderful projects going!

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The Recipe For Baking Up a 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Project

135 days left to submit a matching grant applications

As of the last day of January, there are only 135 days left to submit matching grant proposals for the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program. You can get $2,000 for your local WW1 Memorial - even if you are a municipality or city office.

135 days (a little over 4 months) is still plenty of time, but there is no time left to waste to apply for the grants. Here is the short and easy recipe for cooking up a submission.


Recipe for success:

Ingredient: 

1 memorial in need of assistance 

1-3 Partnerships such as an American Legion or VFW post or DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) chapter. 

1.5 cup of city / county / parks / university permission and support 

1 Lb of Project planning 

1/2 Lb of project budget 

50 dollars for the submission fee


Preparation:

Start by connecting with your local American Legion, VFW post and/or DAR chapters. 

1. These organizations probably had a hand in the original memorial and know where they are. 

2. The American Legion and VFW are both officially supporting the program at the national and regional level 

3. They are all deeply committed to honoring our veterans and their sacrifice. They will help.


Next, get to the city or municipality or party that owns or manages the memorial. 

1. You need to get permission to do the project, but remember: 

2. You are coming to them with very compelling offer 

a. You are doing a community project they don't need to pay for or manage 

b. You can offer national exposure of your local community heritage via the WW1 Centennial Committee and this program 

c. You will be fostering a local sense of community (which these projects invariably do) 

d. You are creating a new focal point for veteran events and celebrations for years to come


Now, assess the scale, scope and ambition of your project... They are ALL valid. 

Is it simply some groundskeeping and landscaping? 

Is it a full conservation or restoration project of the memorial itself that will employ professional conservators? 

Is it a lighting project for the memorial that the city can cooperate with you on? 

Is it a phase of a bigger plan and this is just the launch? 

These are all valid approaches that have come up in the program.

Finally, write it all up with the permissions, plan and budget and get it submitted with your $50 before June 15, 2017.

NOTE: You have all the way until November 11, 2018 to actually complete the project.


Contact us if you need help.

Program Managers:

For the World War One Centennial Commission: Theo Mayer

For the Pritzer Military Museum & Library: Susan Mennenga

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The Timothy Ahearn Memorial Backstory - Part 3 of 3

Preface:

This is the last installment of Laura Macaluso's three part series on the Timothy Ahearn Memorial. Laura generously provided the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Blog with these very insightful and comprehensive articles. We want to thank her for sharing her knowledge, her experience and her insights with a community looking at WW1 memorials and their significance to our national heritage. On behalf of all our reader... Thank you Laura!

Theo Mayer & Susan Mennenga: 100 Cities / 100 Memorials Program Managers



Part 3

Cover, New Haven in World War I, Laura A. Macaluso, The History Press, forthcoming April 2017. The Timothy Ahearn Memorial is seen at the lower left corner.

What I hope these blog posts have shown is that the research and documentation around a single monument or memorial is a multi-layered affair. 

Although much had been done already to bring the Ahearn Memorial's backstory to light, there were surprises still to come. When I started researching the book New Haven in World War I I did a wide survey of all of the library and museum collections in the city and beyond, looking for material from which to write the book.

I knew that World War I monuments and memorials would be an end chapter to the manuscript, but, was more concerned with producing the chapters with which I had far less familiarity: what was happening on the home front, for example, or the development of Camp Yale, where the 102nd Regiment of the 26th Division was formed and trained and where the famous mascot of the Great War—Sergeant Stubby—first made his appearance (Stubby was a New Haven street dog and wore a harness with a small metal tag stating "New Haven, Conn. to France, 1917-1919").

But, learning what private individuals and families still hold regarding World War I material is close to impossible—unless there is a mechanism for bringing together descendants and their materials with scholars, researchers and writers. Fortunately, that turned out to the case in the State of Connecticut, thanks to the efforts of Christine Pittsley, a project manager with the State Library who initiated the Connecticut in World War I: Sharing History/ Preserving Memories program, which visits areas around the state digitizing material in private collections. 

Christine helped to identify New Haven-related material, including objects owned by a man named John T. Dillon, who came to a digitization event in North Haven. At the time, I was excited to learn that Dillon's father, also named John T. Dillon, was a New Havener and member of the 102nd Regiment and that he had kept his father's World War I materials, but I did not put two and two together until later: John T. Dillon's name was on the back of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial. He was, in fact, the chairman of the monument committee.

And, there was more.


Members of Maples Athletic Club, 1916. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq. Six of the young men shown here became members of Company C of the 102nd Regiment, 26th “Yankee” Division: (top row) Jim Quinn (second from left), Harold Shields (third from left), Timothy Ahearn (fourth from left), Jim Coleman (fifth from right) and Jack Dillon (fourth from right). In the front row, Ed Stockpole (second from left) also served in Company C. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.

From John T. Dillon's son—a lawyer whose house stands close to the Guilford Green, about fifteen miles away from where his father lived in Fair Haven, the Irish section of New Haven—I learned that his father, and likely many like him, did not talk about their war experiences at home. Some of the fortunate ones, such as his father, went on to marriage and family, and full-time jobs.

Other, like Timothy Ahearn, were not so lucky. When Ahearn returned to New Haven he found his job at the Marlin Firearms factory gone, and he began the last phase of his young life as a migrant agricultural worker, dying from heart failure in California in 1925. But, before the war, these two young men—about twenty-one years old—lived and worked together in the same neighborhood, and likely went to the same Catholic church and school. Most importantly Dillon and Ahearn played football and baseball together at the Maples Athletic Club, a neighborhood club on the west side of the Quinnipiac River.

Dillon kept a photograph of his Maples A.C. buddies, which shows us just how closely connected doughboys could be in World War I: six young men from the Maples became members of Company C of the 102nd Regiment, Yankee Division. Company C, along with the decimated Companies D and E, fought together at Seicheprey on April 20, 1918. Neither Dillon nor Ahearn were hurt here, but seventeen other New Haveners died, many were wounded and some taken prisoner, making it—as far as I know—the deadliest day in Elm City war history.

John Dillon's caretaking of his father's materials provided a precious window into the life of a doughboy from New Haven. His hob nail boots, Brodie helmet, awards, and most of all his war diary, kept in a small pocket sized calendar with wonderfully legible handwriting (Dillon was a bookkeeper for the Knights of Columbus before the war), helped my research immensely. But, in terms of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial, Dillon post-war life as an active member of the New Haven Chapter of the Yankee Division Veterans Association contributed to how New Haven constructed meaning around World War I and created a legacy for themselves and the city.

New Haven Chapter, Yankee Division Veterans Association buttons belonging to John T. “Jack” Dillon. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq. (top row) Jim Quinn (second from left), Harold Shields (third from left), Timothy Ahearn (fourth from left), Jim Coleman (fifth from right) and Jack Dillon (fourth from right). In the front row, Ed Stockpole (second from left) also served in Company C. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.
21st National Convention, Yankee Division Veterans Association, Boston, Mass., 1940. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq. (top row) Jim Quinn (second from left), Harold Shields (third from left), Timothy Ahearn (fourth from left), Jim Coleman (fifth from right) and Jack Dillon (fourth from right). In the front row, Ed Stockpole (second from left) also served in Company C. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.

Veterans attended dinners, marched in parades, attended funerals and erected monuments and memorials. (Image 3.4) In 1921, the Adjutant General of the Army's office of the War Department officially designated Dillon a representative of the "Burial of the Unknown Dead" at Arlington National Cemetery, which may have encouraged Dillon, in the following decade, to become chairman of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial committee.

The choice of Ahearn as the subject of the 102nd Regiment's monument is an interesting one, considering that although more than 250 New Haveners died in the Great War, 17 of them together on April 20, 1918 at Seicheprey, somewhere along the way the group decided that Ahearn was the soldier they would remember. Perhaps chapter members remembered him more clearly due to their neighborhood ties (four members of the Maples A.C. including Dillon, were on the memorial committee), or maybe they recognized—when there was not yet a full understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder—that the war claimed victims long after armistice in 1918.

Their choice was sanctioned by Yankee Division retired general Clarence Edwards, who said that Ahearn's contributions "best exemplify the spirit of the Yankee Division." Ahearn received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de Guerre and the Italian War Cross for his heroism at Verdun in October 1918 and thus the monument recognizes him as an individual, but also as a model for the whole division (not unlike Stubby, who was first mascot of the 102nd Regiment, but became recognized by the 26th Division as a whole).

John T. “Jack” Dillon, leading the New Haven Chapter, Yankee Division Veterans Association in a parade, unknown year/ Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq. (top row) Jim Quinn (second from left), Harold Shields (third from left), Timothy Ahearn (fourth from left), Jim Coleman (fifth from right) and Jack Dillon (fourth from right). In the front row, Ed Stockpole (second from left) also served in Company C. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.

In the 1937 program for Seicheprey Day—the 19th Annual Observance on April 20—Dillon asked veterans and friends to "Buy A Timmy Ahearn Tag" which were small pen and ink drawings of Lang's monument sold by the Women's Auxiliary, YD Post 130, American Legion, and "wives, sisters and sweethearts of the members of the New Haven Chapter, YDVA and friends and neighbors of the late Timothy Ahearn." The Seicheprey Day program shows just how large these yearly events were; a street parade beginning at 2:30 PM included tanks and planes flying overhead, memorial exercises on the Green, a banquet at the Hotel Garde with toasts at 6 PM, and finally, everyone went to the State Armory at 9 PM for the "Timmy Ahearn Memorial Benefit Vaudeville Show" with Elsie Janis the "sweetheart of the AEF." Janis came to New Haven from her home in Beverly Hills to help raise money for the Ahearn Memorial and she received only her expenses. Their fundraising efforts were clearly successful, as the monument was installed in time for Armistice Day on November 11, 1937.

The last object kept by John Dillon of his father's war service and post-war years as an active veteran is the most wonderful of all: a three minute, 24-second home movie taken of the parade and dedication ceremony of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial. John Dillon (junior) appears as a little boy in a coat and hat—his father was likely marching in the parade, as he always did and he appears at the 2.58 mark speaking at the monument itself 

The Timothy Ahearn Memorial went on to be a focal point of memorialization for veterans in the Elm City; according to the New Haven Register, "each year members of the Maples A.C. join with the Yankee Division Veterans Association and gather to pay tribute to Ahern after the regular Veterans' Day services on the New Haven Green." And, from another article in the New Haven Journal-Courier, it is noted that in 1942 Dillon's daughter Marie helped to unveil the city's next and last World War I Memorial: the 102nd Regiment, Yankee Division plaque, installed close to the field where Camp Yale housed members of the 1st and 2nd Connecticut National Guard, which became the 102nd Regiment in August of 1917. 

Dillon remained active with the YDVA till his death in 1977; the last gatherings of World War I veterans in the state happened in the early 1980s.

102nd Regiment, 26th “Yankee” Division Plaque, installed by Maxwell & Pagano, Derby Avenue, August 10, 1942. Photograph by William Sacco. (top row) Jim Quinn (second from left), Harold Shields (third from left), Timothy Ahearn (fourth from left), Jim Coleman (fifth from right) and Jack Dillon (fourth from right). In the front row, Ed Stockpole (second from left) also served in Company C. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.

​ Excavating the backstory of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial was a great learning experience. Although, putting together pieces and parts from multiple sources is a challenge, you don't really know what is out there until you look—and ask. People working outside of the practice of public history are often surprised that someone is interested in seemingly mundane or personal objects, such as an old pair of shoes, a photograph or a home movie. But, as we've seen, such objects help to illuminate a past that seems very far away.Some monuments and memorials will not have such extensive backstories—but you may be surprised. No matter what you turn up in your own monument's "search and rescue" project, each contribution supports the larger story of the United States in World War I and the ways in which different communities constructed their war memory. The World War I Centennial Commission has taken an all-encompassing approach to remembering the Great War—commissioning a new memorial, creating educational materials for teachers, and hosting states' websites, etc.—giving everyone the opportunity to participate in one form or another. I don't know if anyone or any group in New Haven is going to spearhead the conservation treatment of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial (which he needs and deserves), but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to get matching monies, and to use my town's monuments and memorials to tell the local stories of the Great War experience.


Video: Dedication of Timothy Ahearn Monument - 1937


Blog Links:

Connecticut State Library, Connecticut in World War I: Sharing History Preserving Memories,

http://ctinworldwar1.org/

The Timothy Ahearn Memorial dedication, November 11, 1937, New Haven, Connecticut. Courtesy of John T. Dillon, Esq.


About The Author

Laura A. Macaluso, Ph.D., holds degrees in art history and the humanities from Southern Connecticut State University, Syracuse University in Italy and Salve Regina University. She has worked as a grant writer and curator in historic sites, museums, art, and park organizations. 

She held a Fulbright at the Swaziland National Museum in 2008-2009, and returned in 2010 under an Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation award from the State Department. She curated the exhibit "An Artist at War: Deane Keller, New Haven's Monuments Man" and authored the accompanying article in Connecticut Explored magazine (Winter 2014-2015). Laura is the author of Historic Treasures of New Haven: Celebrating 375 Years of the Elm City (The History Press, 2013) and Art of the Amistad and the Portrait of Cinqué (American Association of State and Local History/Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). 

Her book, New Haven in World War I, was endorsed by the World War One Centennial Commission, and she will be speaking at the international symposium "The Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and Its Legacy" at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, both in April 2017. She lives with her husband Jeffrey Nichols, the president and chief executive officer of Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, in Lynchburg, Virginia. She can be reached at lauramacaluso@sbcglobal.net.

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Save Victory Memorial Grove - A Los Angeles Memorial Restoration Project submitted to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials

Led by amateur historian Courtland Jindra, the Save the Victory Memorial Grove project brings together the Hollywood American Legion Post 43, The Southern California Daughters of the American Revolution and the Los Angeles Department of Recreations and Parks. 

The team submitted their proposal to the 100C/100M program over the holidays, following the recommendation of submitting early, so that we can help create awareness of their project through the Commission. The project will continue to develop their proposal, but with their submittal, we can now share the project with you. Go SoCal!

Let me tell you a little about the the project based on the team's research submitted. 

The location is generally hidden. The grove and the memorial are nestled in a parkland area just west of Chavez Ravine - home of Dodger Stadium - the location holds a commanding view south to downtown LA - peeking all the way to the ocean a bit further to the west.


It is fascinating memorial because it started with a tree planting program to honor the fallen... and included the planting of a field of Flanders Poppies in 1920. 

The LA Parks Commission dedicated the present five-acre Victory Memorial Grove on August 2, 1920 with much of the land donated by a former regent of the CA State Daughters of the American Revolution. 

It is interesting to note that along with plaques and statuary. there were apparently quite a few tree planting memorial activities around the country after the WWI vets returned, 

It makes sense that in a period of honoring the fallen that we would plant trees as symbols long remembrance and life.

The grove still sports some wonderful trees. Of course nearly 1/2 decade of drought in Southern California has made things a bit dry.
Drag to move block.
Within the grove, a five foot high monument bears a bronze tablet created by the artist W.A. Sharp. It honors twenty-one young men and women who gave their lives
The tablet bears six embedded shields: four representing the services in which the twenty-one died, Army, Navy, aviation and the Red Cross, as well as the State Flag and the emblem of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Above all is the noble image of a great eagle, the national emblem of guardianship.

More to come...

We will do an interview with members of the Grove team and bring you more about their project over the coming weeks. 
Right now, we want to congratulate the team: Courtland,  Kimberly Jindra,  the Eschscholtzia Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter of Southern California, and Hollywood American Legion Post 43 for working so hard to bring this project into being.

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Commissioning The Timothy Ahearn Memorial - Part 2 of the series

Preface

This is Part 2 of Laura A. Macaluso's three part series profiling a Doughboy Memorial project in Connecticut. Again we want to thank Laura for her knowledge and insight,  which she is sharing for all our benefit. In this post, you can learn a great deal about how these types of memorials come about in the first place, and some of the process a sculpture goes through in creating an iconic statue.


Commissioning The Timothy Ahearn Memorial - Part 2
By Laura A. Macaluso

Reading over preparatory materials for the SOS! grant application from fifteen years ago, it's clear that the basics of the monument's creation and installation was known but little more than that. Several things happened in the following years that enlarged the backstory of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial in important ways, connecting information in state archives, local libraries and personal collections. In the years that the City of New Haven and the Elm City Parks Conservancy were addressing the conservation needs of bronze monuments in the park system (2001-2007), Amy Trout, the curator at the New Haven Museum, was putting together an exhibit on the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The exhibit provided the context for the large amount of public works of art created in New Haven under the WPA in the 1930s—including the Timothy Ahearn Memorial, the only bronze monument to come out of the WPA in the city or county.

“Field Guide to the Federal Art Project in New Haven,” New Haven Museum, 2007. The Timothy Ahearn Memorial was used as the cover image, and also listed inside the pamphlet, designed to encourage viewers to visit the city’s WPA works of art
The project was something like the 100 Cities/100 Memorials “Memorial Hunters Club” in that I traveled around the city to search out the remaining WPA works of art.

From the exhibit we learned about the process of creating federally-subsidized works of art: under the WPA, local groups could sponsor a work of art, paying for the cost of the material used, while the U.S. government paid for the salaries of the artists, who were approved through a stringent application system and enrolled into the work program. The monument of the bronze doughboy stands on a limestone base, and the inscription about who commissioned the monument—and thus paid for "a ton of modeling clay" and bronze and limestone, which are costly materials—was clear: on the fourth side of the base (rear)

a bronze plaque reads (all thanks to Michael Herrick of the Historical Marker Database for this transcription):


Timothy Ahearn Memorial, Karl Lang, West River Memorial Park, 1937. Photograph by Henry Skrecko. Courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

Erected A.D. MCMXXXVII
by
New Haven Chapter, Yankee Division Veterans Association
and the Federal Art Project of the
Works Progress Administration


Karl Lang, Sculptor
Committee
Mayor John W. Murphy, Ex Officio

John T. Dillon, Chairman • Leonard J. Maloney, Secretary • Raymond W. Hayward, Treasurer

Ralph L. Bishop • Charles L. Boucher • Albert Carocci • James Coleman • James H.P. Conlon • Philip H. English • Walter S. Garde • Charles M. Gardner • Peter J. Geenty • John M. Golden • James A. Haggerty • Frank P. Lee • Walter E. Malley • Joseph T. Marinan • John J. McKeon • Patrick Quinn • Joseph Roach • Laura Sargent • James A. Shanley • Harold Shields • Edward J. Stackpole • Anthony R. Teta • Wayland Williams • Walter I. Wirth

Post No. 47 – American Legion
Post No. 130 – American Legion
Post No. 132 – American Legion
Post No. 85 – Jewish War Veterans
Chap. No. 2 – Disabled American Veterans

Erected by Maxwell & Pagano
New Haven, Conn.

Clay model of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial with artist Karl Lang working in his studio in Noroton (Darien), Connecticut, 1937. Courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.
But, even with this very detailed inscription (which is reflective of the documentary nature of the WPA and not common to most non-WPA monuments and memorials), at the time, most of this information went over my head. As the curatorial assistant on the exhibit project, I was more interested in the artist and the memorial as a work of art. The names listed meant little and World War I so far away in my consciousness that I wrote in the SOS! application that Ahearn "left for active duty in Germany" (not quite!). The choice of Ahearn, a member of Company C of the 102nd Regiment of the 26th "Yankee Division"—and what the regiment meant to New Haven's history and identity—was also obscure, at least to me, a student of art history, not of military history. Despite my shortcomings, both the monument's conservation and the exhibit were a success. As noted in the first blog post, the positive attention regarding the conservation treatment of the memorial encouraged the Parks Department's continuation of conservation treatments for monuments across city parks. This was matched by the success of the exhibit, which caught the eye of State Representative David McCluskey who sponsored a bill in the legislature to fund a state-wide survey of WPA artworks still in existence. Although the bill was not funded, $150,000 was appropriated by the General Assembly for an inventory to be conducted by the Connecticut State Library, which contains the largest body of documentary material about the WPA in the state.

A large part of the work to inventory WPA artwork in Connecticut consisted of the digitization of these materials and the collection of artist biographies and their uploading to webpages. This work helped to bring to light the life of Karl Lang, the artist behind the creation of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial (and a second war memorial in Noroton Heights, a section of Darien, where he lived and worked). Lang was born in Biberach, Germany in 1897—just about the same year as Ahearn, whose birth date varies from 1895 to 1897. In need of work when he came to the United States, Lang worked a series of menial jobs before becoming appointed as a foreman on Gutzon Borglum's Mt. Rushmore project. He worked for the Stamford, CT based Borglum for five years before leaving to start his own studio. Thanks again to the WPA's dual interest in making art—and documenting the making of art at the same time (thus providing work to both a sculptor and a photographer)—a series of sixteen images of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial, from studio maquette (small scale model of a sculpture) to full-size clay study to finished project in situ exists. Lang is seen in one of these images, his bent knee mimicking the pose he chose for Ahearn, whose bent knee served as a writing platform in the trenches.
Clay maquette of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial, Karl Lang, 1937. Photography by Alfred C. Shaw. Courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

In viewing these photographs, you can trace the process that Lang, a traditionally trained artist who worked on the sculpture of the doughboy from the inside out, followed. First, Lang shaped a small maquette out of clay. It is likely that committee members met with Lang to view the small study and give approval and/or suggest changes (you can see that the original maquette featured drawings incised into the sides of the base, but this was later changed to three sides of inscriptions, which told Ahearn's story with words instead of pictures).

Clay model of the Timothy Ahearn Memorial in Karl Lang’s studio in Darien, Connecticut, circa 1936—1937. Courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

Lang then crafted a large figure of a male body in clay around an armature, delineating the musculature . The figure was then built up by placing historically correct clothing to create a Great War infantry soldier: "puttees" (wrappings) around his lower legs, a wool blouse (coat), and the metal "Brodie" helmet that often appears tilted on the heads of World War I soldiers at the front. (Image 2.6) This kind of visual documentation is not often found in the study of monuments and memorials and offers a rare view into the working methods of monument makers, a process that humans have been engaged in since Antiquity.

The last part of the Ahearn Memorial backstory just came to light in 2016—a decade after my initial work—due in part to the upcoming centennial of the American entry into World War I (April 2017) and the centennial of the Armistice (November 2018).As described, I had little connection to the names listed on the plaque attached to the Ahearn Memorial beyond the two names associated to the WPA (John Murphy, mayor and the primary supporter of the WPA in New Haven and Wayland Williams, the city and state WPA administrator), but, after preparing the book, New Haven in World War I, whose publication will coincide with the centennial of the American entry into the first global war of the twentieth century, it became clear that the backstory of the monument was missing something at its core: a focus on New Haven's infantry soldiers and veterans, whose memories of World War I were replayed every year around the Timothy Ahearn Memorial, and around the history of April 20, 1918—the battle of Seicheprey, where seventeen New Haveners died together on the western front—an event little remembered today.

RELATED LINKS FOR YOUR REFERENCE:

WPA Art Inventory, Connecticut State Library, http://ctstatelibrary.org/wpa-art-inventory/

Historical Marker Database, http://www.hmdb.org/

About the Author

Laura A. Macaluso, Ph.D., holds degrees in art history and the humanities from Southern Connecticut State University, Syracuse University in Italy and Salve Regina University. She has worked as a grants writer and curator in historic sites, museums, art, and park organizations. She held a Fulbright at the Swaziland National Museum in 2008-2009, and returned in 2010 under an Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation award from the State Department. She curated the exhibit "An Artist at War: Deane Keller, New Haven's Monuments Man" and authored the accompanying article in Connecticut Explored magazine (Volume 13, No. 1, Winter, 2014/2015). Laura is the author of Historic Treasures of New Haven: Celebrating 375 Years of the Elm City (The History Press, 2013) and Art of the Amistad and the Portrait of Cinqué (American Association of State and Local History/Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Her forthcoming book, New Haven in World War I, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission (www.worldwarIcentennial.org). The book will be accompanied by an article in the spring 2017 issue of Connecticut Explored. In addition, she has written articles, blog posts, and book reviews for Material Culture, The International Society for Landscape, Place, and Material Culture; Nineteenth Century; AASLH; National Council on Public History; Collections, A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, and Adventures in Preservation. She lives with her husband Jeffrey Nichols, the President/CEO of Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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Apologies for incorrect posting announcements

OOOPS...

Our apologies for some post notices that went out over new years weekend that should not have.

Our erstwhile digital robots got a little confused by the year change.. It is sort of like remembering to use 2017 when you write dates.
Sorry for any inconvenience.

We WILL be publishing a new post shortly - and on that one - we are not kidding.


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Video for Ogden, Utah Doughboy Statue Renovation led by American Legion Post 9

​As we posted previously, the Ogden Utah Doughboy Statue renovation submitted its grant application a few weeks ago.

In an interview for the December 21st. Sync Call, we spoke with the project manager, Terry Schow from American Legion Post 9 about the project, 

The Doughboy memorial was originally located at the local American Legion post, but was donated to the City of Ogden in the 50's. It is now re-located in the Veterans Section of the Ogden City Cemetery.  The Ogden Doughboy was created by renowned sculptor Gilbert P. Risvold, who also sculpted a series of Doughboy statues in Illinois. 

You'll enjoy the part of Terry's interview where he tells us about when, at some time in the past nearly 100 years, the statue's helmet was lost or stolen.  It was replaced - by well meaning but perhaps misguided folks - with a construction worker's helmet, and then spray painted, as was the whole statue, with gold radiator paint. 

Conservators around the country are quacking in their boots! Of course, Terry and his team are doing it the the right way. We invite you to follow Laura Macaluso's post series on this blog for some guidance on how to avoid such well intentioned errors.

Thanks again to Terry Schow, the American Legion and all the veterans organizations that are supporting the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials program. 

Your support makes the rescue of these ailing WWI memorials possible. Bless you and Happy New Year!

​STRATEGY TIP: Submit early!
Because once you submit your project's grant application, we are able to promote it:

Please note that although this is a matching grant competition, based on our program rules, once you have submitted your grant application, we are able to help you promote it in a variety of ways including via the US World War One Centennial Commission website, posted project profiles, blog posts, social media posts, and our outreach communications vehicles. 

This can help you highlight your project in your communities and with local media, which in turn assists you with your fund raising and support expansion.

Even if your project application still needs work, we can promote it as soon as you submit it. Then, on request, we can set it up so that you can edit and update your submission documents and information up to the submission closing date of the competition on June 15, 2017.

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