Update

To help support the city’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, New-York Historical is temporarily closed to the public until it is safe to reopen. More details on our Visit page.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

Object Number: 
1953.16
Date: 
1905
Medium: 
Painted plaster
Dimensions: 
Overall: 33 1/2 x 27 x 17 in. ( 85.1 x 68.6 x 43.2 cm )
Marks: 
Signature and date: on proper left side: "D.C. French/ 1905"
Description: 
Portrait bust
Gallery Label: 
Poet, essayist, and statesman, Lowell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Lowell, a Unitarian minister, and Harriet Brackett (Spence) Lowell. After graduating from Harvard in 1838 he studied law, but before he had established a practice his interests turned to literary matters. He knew Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thoreau in nearby Concord, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was teaching at Harvard when he was a student there; in fact, in 1855 Lowell was to succeed Longfellow as professor of modern languages at Harvard. His first book of poetry, Poems, appeared in 1844, followed by a second volume in 1848. Also dating from the latter year are The Vision of Sir Launfal, A Fable for Critics, and the first series of The Biglow Papers; with these publications Lowell became recognized as one of the leaders of the American literary world. He was the first editor of the Atlantic Monthly (1857-62) and was an editor of the North American Review (1863-72). In 1877 he was appointed American minister to Spain and from 1880 to 1885 he was the minister to England. The original of this bust, dated 1904, is at Harvard University. The Society's replica was produced in 1905, the year the subject was elected to the Hall of Fame. James Russell Lowell was one of the distinguished men present at Concord on that April day in 1874 when young Daniel Chester French's bronze statue The Minuteman was unveiled, thereby launching his brilliant career.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. William Penn Cresson, (Margaret French)
Provenance: 
Mrs. William Penn Cresson, (Margaret French), daughter of the artist -the original of this bust, dated 1904, is at Harvard University.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group