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Edward Clark PotterBorn: Nov. 16th, 1857 - Died: June 21st, 1923Sculptor of the Slocum Equestrian Monument, Gettysburg Pa.
Edward Clark Potter was born in Enfield Massachusetts and graduated from Amherst College located in Amherst Massachusetts in 1882. Following his graduation, Potter would venture to Paris to study for several years under Antonin Mercie' and others.
Completing his studies, Potter would return to the United States in 1891 where he would reside in Chicago Illinois. Several commissions would be presented to Potter including collaboration with his friend Daniel Chester French. Together they would produce the "Apotheosis of Columbus."
Potter is remembered today for his ability to sculpt wildlife subjects, but especially horses. Famed sculptor Lorado Taft commenting on Potter’s abilities noted “no American sculptor knows the horse so well structurally.” If one reviews the work of E.C. Potter they soon see that the horse was the subject of many of his works. This is well noted in the Slocum equestrian at Gettysburg.
Potter's selection to sculpt the Slocum did not come quickly or easily. A bill was introduced on January 23, 1896 to provide $25,000.00 for placing an equestrian statue of General Slocum on the battlefield of Gettysburg. On January 19, 1899, after a visit to the battlefield, a 100’ square plot was selected and approved as the site for the erection of the monument. During the site selection process prominent sculptors were providing models or sketches of the statue.
Ten models by nine different sculptors were provided but none were deemed “altogether satisfactory.” As a result the opportunity to provide additional models was extended and with this, eighteen models by seventeen sculptors were provided for review. After further review, five models were selected and the sculptors instructed to provide a plaster model about one and a half life size. Also the sculptors were asked to make inquiries from bronze founders as to the probable cost of casting the same.
After review, Potter’s model was accepted and on January 18, 1898 a contract was executed for the creation of the Slocum monument. Potter, who had his studio in Enfield, Massachusetts began his work with great enthusiasm. After several years the final plaster model was reviewed on February 1, 1901 and approved.
The contract to cast the bronze statue was awarded on June 10, 1901 to the Gorham Manufacturing Company. On May 7, 1901 the construction of the foundation was begun. Its dimensions are twenty two feet long, by sixteen feet two inches wide and six feet four inches deep composed of a monolith of concrete five feet high, capped with a course of dimension stone sixteen inches thick of Gettysburg granite.
The granite pedestal was erected on May 8, 1902 and the large granite cap was placed in position on July 29, 1902. All that was needed was the bronze statue and this was placed on August 18,1902. All was ready for the dedication ceremonies to be held September 19 & 20, 1902.
The family of General Slocum as well as many veterans that had served under the General were present at the dedication.
An original medal given to a veteran that attended the dedication of the Slocum Monument at Gettysburg. A photograph of the plaster study of the Slocum Statue presented by the sculptor for review.An original autograph of Edward C. Potter (c1906) New York State MemorialDedicated July 2, 1893"New York Day"
The likeness of General Slocum appears in bronze on two monuments at Gettysburg. The first, is the bronze equestrian on Steven's Knoll this months featured monument. The second is located on the bronze bas relief at the base of the column of the New York State Memorial. There are four scenes depicted on this circular relief. One of these is General H. W. Slocum's "council of war."
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