Vinnie Ream

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Vinnie Ream
Vinnie Ream - Brady-Handy.jpg
Born (1847-09-25)September 25, 1847
Madison, Wisconsin
Died November 20, 1914(1914-11-20) (aged 67)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality United States
Known for Sculpture

Lavinia Ellen "Vinnie" Ream Hoxie (September 25, 1847 – November 20, 1914) was an American sculptress. Her most famous work is the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ream was born September 25, 1847, in a log cabin in Madison, Wisconsin as Lavinia Ellen Ream. She was the youngest daughter of Lavinia and Robert Ream. Robert Ream was a surveyor and a Wisconsin Territory civil servant. Her mother was a McDonald of Scottish ancestry. The Reams also operated a stage coach stop, one of the first hotels in Madison, from their home. Guests slept on the floor.

Her brother Robert Ream enlisted in the Confederate army, in Arkansas, serving in Woodruff's battery.[2]

Vinnie Ream attended Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, now known as Columbia College. A portrait of Martha Washington by Ream hangs in St. Clair Hall.[3][4]


portrait with Lincoln bust

In 1861, her family moved to Washington, D.C. Vinnie Ream was one of the first women to be employed by the federal government, as a clerk in the dead letter office of the United States Post Office from 1862 to 1866 during the American Civil War. She sang at the E Street Baptist Church, and for the wounded at Washington, D.C. hospitals.[5] She collected materials for the Grand Sanitary Commission.[6]

In 1863, James S. Rollins introduced her to Clark Mills.[7] In 1864, President Lincoln agreed to model for her in the morning for five months.[3]

Vinnie Ream was the youngest artist and first woman to receive a commission as an artist from the United States government for a statue. She was awarded the commission for the full-size Carrara marble statue of Lincoln by a vote of Congress on July 28, 1866, when she was 18 years old.[8] She worked in a studio in Room A of the basement of the Capitol.[9] In 1868, she traveled to Wisconsin to gain a commission, unsuccessfully.[10] Senator Edmund G. Ross boarded with her family during the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson.[11] She traveled to Paris, Munich, Florence, then Rome to produce a finished marble figure from the plaster model.[3] She studied with Leon Bonnat in Paris. She made busts of Gustave Dore, Pere Hyacynthe, Franz Liszt, and Giacomo Antonelli.[12] Her studio in Rome was at 45 Via de San Basile.[13] She met Georg Brandes at that time.[14][15]

When the statue was complete, she returned to Washington. On January 25, 1871, her white marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln was unveiled in the United States Capitol rotunda.[16] She was only 23 years old.[17] She opened a studio at 704 Broadway, New York.[18] In 1871, she exhibited at the American Institution Fair.[19][20]

She returned to Washington and opened a studio and salon at 235 Pennsylvania Avenue.[21] She was unsuccessful in her entry in the Thomas statue competition.[22] In 1875, George Armstrong Custer sat for a portrait bust.[23] In 1876, she exhibited at the Centennial Exposition.[24] In November 1877, she produced a model for a Lee statue in Richmond.[25] After lobbying William Tecumseh Sherman and Mrs. Farragut, she won a competition to sculpt Admiral David G. Farragut (Ream statue). Her sculpture, located at Farragut Square, Washington, D.C., was unveiled on May 28, 1878.[26] It was cast in the Washington Navy Yard.[27]

Ream married Richard L. Hoxie, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on May 28, 1878.[28][29] They had one son. Her husband was reassigned to Montgomery, Alabama, and St. Paul Minnesota. Finally, the Hoxies lived at 1632 K Street near Farragut Square,[30] and had a summer home at 310 South Lucas Street, Iowa City, Iowa.[31][32] Vinnie played the harp for entertainment.[26]

Her marbles, America, The West, and Miriam, were exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.[33] Ream designed the first free-standing statue of a Native American, Sequoyah, to be placed in Statuary Hall at the Capitol.

She died on November 20, 1914.[17] Vinnie Ream Hoxie and her husband are buried in section three of Arlington National Cemetery, marked by her statue Sappho.[34]



A first-day cover stamp was issued in honor of Vinnie Ream and her work on the statue of Sequoyah, the Native American inventor of the Cherokee alphabet.

George Caleb Bingham painted her portrait twice.[35]

The town of Vinita, Oklahoma was named in honor of Vinnie Ream.[36]




  1. ^ Vinnie Ream [Hoxie]. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  2. ^ Cooper, p.3
  3. ^ a b c Columbia College spotlight stories: Vinnie Ream, Christian College's first artist. (2011-01-24). Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  4. ^ Vinnie Ream (1847–1914) – Historic Missourians – The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved on 2013-01-10.
  5. ^ Cooper, p.7
  6. ^ Cooper, p.11
  7. ^ Cover :: Missouri Historical Review. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  8. ^ Gibson, p. 4
  9. ^ Cooper, p.26
  10. ^ Cooper, p.59
  11. ^ Cooper, pp. 73–81
  12. ^ Vinnie Ream (American sculptor) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia. (1914-11-20). Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  13. ^ Cooper, p. 122
  14. ^ Cooper, pp.126–129
  15. ^ Reminiscences of my childhood and youth, Georg Brandes, p. 318ff
  16. ^ Gibson, pp. 15–17
  17. ^ a b Vinnie Ream Hoxie. Military Spouse & Sculptor. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  18. ^ Cooper, p.149
  19. ^ Cooper, p.154
  20. ^ "AMERICAN INSTITUTE FAIR.; The Fortieth Annual Exhibition A Large Display in the Different Branches of Art, Agriculture and Manufacture". The New York Times. 1871-09-06. 
  21. ^ Cooper, p.157
  22. ^ Cooper, pp. 167–168
  23. ^ Cooper, p.205
  24. ^ Cooper, p.210
  25. ^ Cooper, p.220
  26. ^ a b Vinnie Ream Hoxie. (1914-11-20). Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  27. ^ Cooper, p.241
  28. ^ Gibson, pp.56–57
  29. ^ Richard Leveridge Hoxie, Brigadier General, United States Army. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  30. ^ Gibson, p.57
  31. ^ McDonald on Vinnie Ream Hoxie. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  32. ^ Cooper, p.261
  33. ^ Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, (ed). "Lincoln and Farragut." by Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie (1847–1914). The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U.S.A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 603–608.
  34. ^ Kathryn Allamong Jacob (1998). Testament to Union: Civil War monuments in Washington, Part 3. Photograph Edwin Harlan Remsberg. JHU Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-5861-1. 
  35. ^ Cover: Missouri Historical Review. Retrieved on 2011-07-19.
  36. ^ Vinita Oklahoma Area Chamber of Commerce promoting visitor information for the purpose of relocation & tourism Archived August 10, 2007 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Stewart Alsop (1968), The Center: People and Power in Political Washington, 1968 reprint, New York: Popular Library.
  • David O. Stewart (2009), Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy, New York: Simon and Schuster, ISBN 9781416547495 .

External links[edit]