Anne Whitney

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Portrait of Anne Whitney

Anne Whitney (September 2, 1821 – January 23, 1915) was an American sculptor and poet. She was born in Watertown, Massachusetts and died Boston, Massachusetts.

Early years[edit]

As with so many of the early, successful 19th Century women sculptors Whitney came from a liberal, in her case, Unitarian, supportive family background. Whitney was homeschooled as a youngster, and later traveled to Europe where she studied in Rome, Munich, and Paris before she returned to the United States. In 1846 she opened a small school in Salem, Massachusetts.

Statue of Charles Sumner in Harvard Square, sculpted by Whitney

In the 1860s she exhibited work in the Boston gallery of De Vries, Ibarra & Co.[1] A well known supporter of both the abolitionist and suffragette movements, Whitney herself was to publicly feel the brunt of the sexism of the day when, in 1875, the commission for a statue of Charles Sumner that won a competition was denied her when it was discovered that the winning model was created by a woman.

Career and work[edit]

Among her well known public monuments is the statue of Samuel Adams (1876) located in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol, Washington D.C., the statue Leif the Discoverer (1887) in Boston, Massachusetts, with another edition that same year placed in Juneau Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Whitney was an accomplished portraitist, completing statues and busts of such well known individuals as John Keats, Samuel Adams, Toussaint l'Ouverture, William Lloyd Garrison, Charles Sumner, Frances Willard, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Samuel Sewall, Alice Freeman Palmer, Robert Gould Shaw, Eben Norton Horsford, Harriet Martineau, Jennie McGraw Fiske, Lucy Stone and others.

Other of her works can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Amherst College, Cornell University, Harvard University, Smith College, Wellesley College, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Newark, Museum, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Mark Twain Memorial, and Boston Public Library.


  • Murdock, Myrtle Cheney, National Statuary Hall in the Nation's Capitol, Monumental Press, Inc., Washington D.C., 1955.
  • Compilation of Works of Art and Other Objects in the United States Capitol, Prepared by the Architect of the Capitol under the Joint Committee on the Library, United States Government Printing House, Washington, 1965.
  • Opitz, Glenn B, Editor, Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers, Apollo Book, Poughkeepsie NY, 1986.
  • Rubenstein, Charlotte Streifer, American Women Sculptors, G.K. Hall & Co., Boston, 1990.
  • Eleanor Tufts. "An American Victorian Dilemma, 1875: Should a Woman Be Allowed to Sculpt a Man?" Art Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, Uneasy Pieces (Spring, 1992), pp. 51–56.
  • Fowler, Cynthia. "Anne Whitney's Contribution to Nineteenth-Century American Sculpture." Masters Thesis, Harvard University, Extension School, Cambridge, MA 1994.

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ Ladies' Repository: a Universalist Monthly Magazine (Boston: Universalist Publishing House, no.37 Cornhill), April 1867

External links[edit]