The Haddon Township Doughboy is one of the iconic figures not designed by Visquesney. It was, instead, designed by sculptor Richard Walter Bock who had been born in Germany in 1865. In 1870, his family emigrated to Chicago where his father opened a cabinet making business. Bock began his art education in the United States but returned to his native country and France to complete his training.
Bock opened a sculpture studio in Chicago, designed sculptures for the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, and gained notice by his interior bas-reliefs for the city’s Schiller Theatre designed by famed Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan. While working with Sullivan, Bock became acquainted with the architect’s draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright. Bock became a friend of Wright’s and designed numerous sculptures for Wright buildings.
In 1928, Bock was selected as head of the Sculpture Department at the University of Oregon. He retired from the University in 1932, and died in 1949. In his memoirs, Bock described the Haddon Township commission:
Following the War, I had a number of commissions commemorating that unhappy event. One was a very conventional statue made as a civic monument for Jersey City, New Jersey. It was a realistic charging soldier with a fixed bayonet, titled “Over the Top.”…In a small size, about four feet tall, it was widely copied for schools all over the county.”
One cast of his Jersey City sculpture is located in Haddon Township, Camden County. It includes a pedestal on which the 81 Township residents who served in the war are commemorated, The monument originally stood in front of Westmont School #1, located at the intersection of Haddon and Reeve Avenues. In 1961, the sculpture was moved to its present location, in front of the Westmont Firehouse on Haddon Avenue. The monument was dedicated in 1920.
Narrative adapted from Sandra White-Grear, “The Haddon Township Doughboy,” edited and added to by William Brahms, Haddon Township Historical Society, 2010.
Photos courtesy of: Haddon Township Historical Society