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MSS.4.705

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[postmark: WEST BARNSTABLE JUL 4 1881 MASS.]

Miss Anne Whitney

92 Mt. Vernon St.,

Boston, Mass.

[printed in pencil up left side: [Francis J. Garrison]]

[postmark: 7-4-81]

Osterville, July 4, 1881.

Dear Miss Whitney:

Since seeing you Friday afternoon, I have thought much about the matter of which we then spoke, and with increasing regret at your decision not to accept the invitation extended to you by the Committee. I think I can see and appreciate both sides of the question - yours & the Committee's - and can sympathize with both. From the success which you have already achieved with Father's face, my brothers & I feel, with you, that the Committee would have been more than justified in giving you a commission outright, & without other condition than the limitation of cost, and we heartily wish that they had taken this course. We can

also understand why, after the experiences which you have already had of unfair treatment, you should have determined not to enter into any more competitions conducted on the Sumner plan.

On the other hand, the Committee can point to several statues in Boston by sculptors of acknowledged ability & reputation who had achieved previous successes & yet made wretched failures of their Boston commissions, and may say that they ought at least to try three or four first-class sculptors and choose the one who makes the best success of the subject now in question; that they recognized you as the first to be invited to submit a design; that they had asked only two others, whose merits and abilities you would yourself admit; that they would be unwilling to think that you distrusted the fairness and impartiality

of a committee composed, to a considerable proportion, of gentlemen who are personal friends of yours or admirers of your works, and who would be sincerely gratified if the commission should fall to you; and they could add, if they knew you as well as we do, that your loyalty to art and your candor are such that you would yourself unhesitatingly & generously yield the palm to a design which you considered better and more felicitous than one made by yourself.

If we maintain that your reputation & success are sufficient warrant for their entrusting the commission at once to you, they can reply that we have no right to find fault with them for adopting a plan which, if accepted as they had expected it would be, would still have enabled them to place the work in your

hands, after a test confirming our judgment & convincing others.

The only point on which, as it seems to me, we can fairly criticize them, is their expecting artists whose time is so valuable to prepare and submit such designs without assured compensation, as that alone would be sufficient reason for their declining, but as the figure which you have contracted to make for us could serve equally well for a design for the statue, you would not be subjected to positive loss of time and money in case the Committee did not accept it; and we cannot help wishing that you would consent to send the model, when made, for the inspection of the Committee, along with the other competitive designs, regarding it still as a commission executed especially for us, which they are welcome to take or leave,

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as they see fit. Would it be inconsistent with the position which you have taken, and averse to your own feelings, to say to the Committee that you have contracted to make a figure for the family which they desire the Committee should see, and that you have therefore consented to send it for the inspection of the latter when completed, in the anonymous manner prescribed by them?

In conclusion, I need hardly add that we would not ask you to do anything which does not commend itself to your judgment, and that what I have written is dictated solely by our desire that you should make the statue which it is now definitely settled is to be erected in Boston, and our fear lest the Committee may commit themselves to a design which, whatever its merits, will fail to satisfy

us and Father's best friends. The work may fall into your hands if you take no further action in the matter, but if St. Gaudens and Warner both consent to compete, we fear that Boston's opportunity of having another first-class statue from your hand will be lost.

Knowing that you will pardon the frankness with which I have written, and that you will do only what seems wise & right to you in the matter, I am

Sincerely & faithfully yours,

Francis J. Garrison.

P.S. As I close my letter word is brought to us that the President is failing & not expected to recover, & I have decided not to prolong my stay here & shall return to Boston tomorrow.

Letter from Francis Jackson Garrison, Osterville, Massachusetts, to Anne Whitney, Boston, Massachusetts, 1881 July 4

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