| New Milford
view large image
| LINCOLN HERM
Top of Town Green
6 Aspetuck Avenue
New Milford, CT
Dedicated: May 30, 1912
Type: Herm (square stone pillar surmounted by bronze bust)
Sculptor: Paul Winters Morris
Foundry: John Williams, Inc.
Donor: Edward Williams Marsh
Height: Approximately 14', 6"
LINCOLN HERM, New Milford, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of the honor paid to its Civil War soldiers by New Milford. Since it was the gift of a single individual, it joins the company of other such monuments as SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, New London, and SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Unionville in Farmington.
The donor, Edward Williams Marsh, was born in 1836 in New Milford. As a young man he worked for a railroad and as a hardware store clerk before becoming a soldier. In a bizarre accident, he was shot (wounded) in 1863 by a fellow officer. Williams' writings about his war experiences are quoted at length by Orcutt.
Marsh was present at the dedication ceremony May 30, 1912, and made a speech.
LINCOLN HERM is significant artistically because it is an effective sculpture in the classical tradition of pedestal and bust, known as a herm. Originally taking the form of a rectangular pillar terminating in a bust, the herm, modified, became a popular mode for public monuments in the 19th century. One of the best-executed examples is the President James Garfield Memorial of 1896, in Philadelphia, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White. The sides of that piece feature shield-shaped bronze plaques and figures, thereby suggesting that Lewis may have used the Philadelphia work as inspiration for his own, although the pedestal designed by White for the Garfield sculpture, using fluted Ionic columns to support entablature and bust without arms, is quite different from the New Milford pedestal.
At New Milford the plaques are signed by Paul Winters Morris. The bust, not readily accessible, is presumably by him as well. Paul Winters Morris (1865-1916) was born in Du Quoin, Illinois, and died in New York City. He studied with Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French.
LINCOLN HERM is one of the few of its kind in Connecticut, certainly the state's only Civil War monument of the mode. It is also the state's only Civil War monument to Abraham Lincoln, a fact no doubt related to its late date of 1912, by which time retrospective study was elevating Lincoln's place in American history. CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Cheshire, does prominently display Lincoln's name, and SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Union Park, Middletown, features a cameo profile of him.
The bust of Abraham Lincoln at the top of New Milford Green is supported by a pedestal. It is in a small park or lawn across Elm Street from (north of) the Green proper. The lawn visually is part of the grounds of the New Milford Historical Society property, but is at the edge, near the street, and may be in the street right of way. According to the town assessor, the monument belongs to the historical society. According to the municipal historian, the monument belongs to the town.
In either event, it enjoys a commanding position at the top of the Green. The pedestal that supports the bust has a quarry-faced plinth and two-stage base as well as a high dado. All four sides of the dado are covered with bronze plaques. The north and south plaques, in the shape of shields, carry the lettering recorded below. The fields of letters are badly streaked, making the wording difficult to read. The east and west plaques, which are 6', 2" x 31' x 2" rectangles, have bas-relief sculpted life-sized figures. On the west is a sailor hauling on the halyard of the flag behind him, which provides the effect of drapery background to his figure. The bugler on the east wears a waist-long jacket and stands in front of a mortar. Tassels hang from his bugle. All plaques have beaded borders.
The Lincoln bust atop the pedestal rests on a two-stage base. It depicts the subject from mid-chest up, without arms. Coat lapels, weskit, shirt, and bow tie are realistic. Lincoln bears a grim visage, his large nose pointed straight ahead. He wears a trimmed goatee and thick hair to his ears.
The monument is dedicated to all New Milford men who served in the Civil War and to Abraham Lincoln. The specific and prominent designation of President Lincoln is perhaps unique in Connecticut.
At bottom of plaques (bust not accessible), u.c. and l.c.:Paul Winters Morris Sc
At bottom of plaques (bust not accessible), u.c. and l.c.:Jno Williams Inc / Bronze Foundry N.Y.
Front (south) bronze plaque 5', 8" x 32", raised caps:(Lincoln's Gettysburg Address) "FOUR SCORE AND SEVEN YEARS AGO" through "PERISH FROM THE EARTH" / DELIVERED AT GETTYSBURG / NOVEMBER 19, 1863 / BY / ABRAHAM LINCOLN / (wreath)
North:THE GIFT OF
EDWARD WILLIAMS MARSH
CAPTAIN OF COMPANY M
SECOND CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS
TO THE TOWN OF NEW MILFORD
IN LOVING MEMORY OF THE SOLDIERS & SAILORS
OF THE UNION ARMY & NAVY
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
BESIDES BEING IN MANY SKIRMISHES THE NEW
MILFORD TROOPS WERE ENGAGED IN THE BATTLES OF
third [sic] WINCHESTER
(cross in wreath)
Glenn P. Opitz, ed., Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers (Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo Books, 1986).
Samuel Orcutt, History of the Towns of New Milford and Bridgewater, Connecticut (New Milford: New Milford Historical Society, 1976, commemorative edition of 1882), p. 530.
Program for dedication ceremonies, May 30, 1912. New Haven Colony Historical Society.
Donald Martin Reynolds, Masters of American Sculpture (New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1993), pp. 137 and 138.