In May 1910, Theodore Roosevelt was asked by United States Representative Louis Hanna (later governor of North Dakota) to sit for a sculpture by Gustav Vigeland in Christiania (Oslo), Norway. Roosevelt sat for Vigeland but wrote the following to Hanna on May 6, 1910:
Don’t have it a statue of me; have it a statue of a cowboy or a pioneer farmer. This will be far more typical of North Dakota, and I am sure in the end will be far more satisfactory – and this apart from my firm belief that no man should ever have a statue until he has been dead some little time.
The large version of the Vigeland sculpture was never cast. More than 100 years later, and 92 years after Roosevelt’s death, a life-size bronze sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt will be dedicated in Dickinson, North Dakota. The artist is Tom Bollinger, a Dickinson State University alum whose bronze foundry has earned a national reputation.
Image: Sculptor Tom Bollinger puts finishing touches on the face
Clay Jenkinson of the Theodore Roosevelt Center recently interviewed Tom about the project. See more pictures and listen to clips from the interview at our Statue Progress web page.
Roosevelt closed his letter to Congressman Hanna: “[T]he cowboy, next to the pioneer farmer, was the typical figure of the frontier days in our West, the West that you and I know and love and belong to.” Learn more about Roosevelt’s West at this year’s Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, October 27-30, in Dickinson. Hotels are filling up fast, so make your reservations now! We hope to see you there.