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SOM#045, James Earl Fraser, Pony Express - New Frontiers, 1952

From the collection of John Birks

Number Issued: 964 Bronze

The wagon appearing on the reverse is a direct copy of that used on the obverse of Fraserís Oregon Trail commemorative half dollar.


My belief is that in art whenever possible we should use the lore of our people. With this thought in mind I selected two of the most romantic, hazardous and important subjects of our pioneer days, the Prairie Schooner and the Pony Express.

These were not fairy tales, but very real events so I have treated them realistically.

As a small boy in Dakota, I saw prairie schooners crossing the plains. They went the full distance to their objective. With the pony express, however, only one object went all the way and that was the mochila which was changed from pony to pony and rider to rider. In ten days the mail was carried the distance from Westport, Missouri, to San Francisco.

These were great and thrilling adventures in American history.


FRAISER, JAMES EARLES: Sculptor: b. Winona, Minn. Nov. 4, 1876: s. Thomas Alexander and Caroline E. (West) F: ed; pub. schs. Mitchell, S.D. Chicago, Minneapolis; Chicago Art Inst., Ecole des Beaux Arts and Colorossi and Academy Julian, Paris: Nov. 27, 1913 m. Laura Gardin. Instr. Art Students League, New York, 1906 to 1912.

At the age of seventeen, modeled portrait bust of John Riley and made a model for the equestrian statue "The End of the Trail."

Several other works of this period were lost in a fire: in particular a bust of his father.

Went to Paris at twenty years of age. Through winning a competition for best work of art in the American Art Asssociation, attracted the attention of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Assisted him for two years, principally on the Sherman statue.

In 1902 made a marble portrait relief of Baby Hathaway Brewster.

In 1902-3 made a model for an equestrian statue of Cherokee Indian, eighteen feet high for St. Louis World's Fair, and a seated statue of Thomas Jefferson.

Among the portrait busts are: Sonny Whitney, Jock Whitney, A. Basque, Sage Goodwin, June Evans, Henrietta and John Deming, Sherman and George Pratt, Roland Harriman, Theodore Roosevelt for San Juan Hill, Cuba, Robert Bacon, Eastman Chase, Pat Ford, Warren Delano, Senator Elihu Root, John Nance Garner, Harvey Firestone, a mask: Young Artist, Metropolitan Museum; Dr. William Polk; Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

Among the heroic statues and memorials: John Hay, Cleveland; Bishop Potter, St. John the Divine; Alexander Hamilton, south portico of the Treasury Bldg., Washington, D. C.; Albert Gallatin, north portico of the Treasury Bldg., Washington, D. C.; Thomas Jefferson, Merriwether Lewis, William Clark in Jefferson City, Mo., Capitol; John Ericsson in Winnipeg, Canada and Figure of Victory, Montreal, Canada, for the Bank of Montreal, both won in international competition; the Mayo Memorial Statues, Rochester, Minn.; Heroic Statue of Lincoln at beginning of Lincoln Highway, New Jersey; General Patton Statue at West Point; Benjamin Franklin, Springfield, Ill.; Marble statue of Franklin for Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

Among the symbolic sculptures are: Two heroic figures at the front of the Supreme Court Bldg., Washington, D. C.; Pediment with twelve figures, all double life size on the south facade of the Archives Bldg., Washington, D. C., one of the two largest pediments ever made; Four pediments fifty feet long, two figures in each pediment, one and one half life size, carved in stone; New York State memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, an equestrian statue with four granite portrait statues of Audubon, Daniel Boone, William Clark and Merriwether Lewis on the columns over the portico, figures thirteen feet high, carved in granite; Two Bridge Groups in Chicago on Michigan Avenue, north end of the bridge; Four figures, seven feet high in the Elks Memorial, Chicago; Primitive Inventor, Water Power, figure in front of city Hall, Niagara Falls; Pioneer Women; Two Equestrian Groups each nineteen feet high for Lincoln Memorial Plaza, Washington, D. C. Collections of his medals have been bought by the Governments of Italy and Belgium.
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