The Crusader (sculpture)

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Victor Lawson Monument
Chicago, Illinois The Crusader1.jpg
LocationChicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
SculptorLorado Taft
Architectural styleGothic Revival[1]
Part ofGraceland Cemetery (ID00001628)
Designated CPJanuary 18, 2001

The Crusader, also known as the Victor Lawson Monument, is a memorial marking the grave of Chicago newspaper publisher Victor Lawson. It is in Chicago's historic Graceland Cemetery and was designed by American sculptor Lorado Taft in 1931.


The Crusader was created in 1931 by Lorado Taft.[2] In Chicago's historic Graceland Cemetery, it is a monument intended to memorialize Victor F. Lawson (1850–1925), the publisher of the Chicago Daily News.[2] The Chicago Daily News was founded by Melville E. Stone, Percy Meggy and William Dougherty in 1875.[3] In July 1876, Lawson invested money into the publication, which was struggling, and became its business manager. By the 1890s, the paper had reached a circulation of 200,000 people. Lawson remained involved with the paper until 1925.[4] The Crusader was commissioned by Victor Lawson's brother, Iver Lawson.[5]


The Crusader is a medieval knight, and is used to symbolize the character of Victor Lawson.[2] Standing more than thirteen feet tall, it was carved out of a solid block of dark granite supplied by the Henry C. Smalley Granite Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. The granite was then highly polished.[6] The knight, with a large sword and shield, was an image that Taft had contemplated for years; he used it in numerous works besides The Crusader.[7] The original model of The Crusader was done in clay.[7]

Unlike Taft's earlier work, The Crusader emphasizes its "sheer mass", helped by the lack of realistic details in the sculpture.[7] The monument does not bear Lawson's name, but does have an inscription which reads, "Above all things truth beareth away victory",[2] a quote from 1 Esdras 3:12.[8] Stylistically, the Lawson Monument falls within Gothic Revival.[1] The Crusader is described as "an excellent example of Taft's late style in which he blended literal realism and allegory".[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Graceland Cemetery, Lawson, Victor, Monument", Property Information Report, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, accessed October 8, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Kiefer, et al., p. 71.
  3. ^ Scott, Frank William, and Edmund Janes James. Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, (Google Books link), Harvard University, 1910, p. 127.
  4. ^ Nord, David Paul. "Lawson, Victor Fremont". American National Biography Online, Oxford University Press, February 2000. Accessed on October 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Dennis, Charles Henry. Victor Lawson: His Time and His Work, (Google Books link), University of Chicago Press, 1935, p. 462.
  6. ^ "Unique statue as memorial to Victor Lawson". Chicago Daily Tribune. July 24, 1931. p. 21.
  7. ^ a b c Prince, Sue Ann. The Old Guard and the Avante-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940, (Google Books link), University of Chicago Press, 1990, p. 52, (ISBN 0226682846).
  8. ^ "Merchants and Inventors", Graceland Cemetery, official site, accessed October 9, 2011.
  9. ^ Kiefer, et al., p. 149.