Alexander Milne Calder

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Alexander Milne Calder
Al Milne Calder w Billy.jpg
Calder with the head of his statue of William Penn
Born (1846-08-23)August 23, 1846
Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died June 4, 1923(1923-06-04) (aged 76)
Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality American
Education Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Known for Sculpture

Alexander Milne Calder (August 23, 1846 – June 4, 1923) was a Scottish American sculptor best known for the architectural sculpture of Philadelphia City Hall. Both his son, Alexander Stirling Calder, and grandson, Alexander "Sandy" Calder, became significant sculptors in the 20th century.


Alexander Milne Calder was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of a tombstone carver. He began his career in Scotland, working for sculptor John Rhind, the father of sculptor J. Massey Rhind while attending the Royal Academy in Edinburgh. He moved to London and worked on the Albert Memorial. Calder immigrated to the United States in 1868 and settled in Philadelphia, where he studied with Joseph A. Bailly, and took classes (as would his son Alexander Stirling Calder) with Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1873, he was hired by architect John McArthur, Jr. to produce models for the architectural sculpture of Philadelphia City Hall. The commission involved more than 250 pieces in marble and bronze, and took Calder 20 years to complete. That same year, he was commissioned by the Association for Public Art (then the Fairmount Park Art Association) to create an equestrian statue of Major General George Gordon Meade for Fairmount Park. In 1875, he won the competition for the colossal bronze statue of William Penn that was to crown its tower.

He is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Notable works[edit]



  • Bach, Penny Balkin, Public Art in Philadelphia, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992 ISBN 0-87722-822-1
  • Craven, Wayne, Sculpture in America, Thomas Y Crowell Co, NY, NY 1968 ISBN 0-87413-225-8
  • Fairmount Park Association, Sculpture of a City: Philadelphia's Treasures in Bronze and Stone, Walker Publishing Co., Inc, NY. NY 1974 ISBN 0-8027-7100-9
  • Hayes, Margaret Calder Three Alexander Calders, Paul S Eriksson Publisher, Middlebury, Vermont, 1977 ISBN 0-8397-8017-6
  • Kvaran and Lockley, A Guide to Architectural Sculpture in America, unpublished manuscript
  • Williams, Oliver P., County Courthouses of Pennsylvania: A Guide, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA 2001 ISBN 0-8117-2738-6

External links[edit]