Charles Sumner statue
Public Art : Charles Sumner statue
Sculptor : © Thomas Ball
Description : A bronze statue of outspoken
Massachusetts Republican senator Charles Sumner (1811-1874).
Date Unveiled : 1878
Location : Mr Sumner can be found in the Public
Gardens, Boston, Massachusetts.
Controversy : When Sumner died in 1874 a competition
was announced to design a monument in honor of the outpoken abolitionist. The winner was local artist Anne Whitney
(and family friend of Sumner) but when they discovered she was a woman they were so appalled they disqualified her.
Reason? They believed it inappropriate for a female to sculpt a man's legs. Hmm, and pray tell what of a man's
genitals? So much for Sumner's fight for equality!
Whitney had the laugh last 27 years later when her original plaster model (which she
had held on to for all those years) was cast in bronze and erected in Harvard Square. She was by this time in her