Teddy Roosevelt’s Statue: The Westport Connection

For 80 years, a statue of Theodore Roosevelt has stood outside New York’s Museum of Natural History. It shows the early 20th century president on horseback. Two men — an indigenous person, and an African — walk beside him.

The New York Post reports that, as the former president is “criticized for glorifying colonialism and racism,” it is being sent to North Dakota, on a long-term loan to the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

It’s already been covered with scaffolding and a tarp.

Theodore Roosevelt statue (Photo by Edward H. Blake, courtesy of Wikipedia)

Why is this “06880” news? Because the statue was designed and created in 1939 by James Earle Frasier, in his North Avenue studio.

Located now at Fraser Lane, north of Coleytown Avenue, the studio was one of the reasons Westport became known as an artists’ colony. Among the guests of Fraser and his wife Laura Gardin Fraser, also an internationally known sculptor: Teddy Roosevelt’s wife.

James Earle Fraser, at work on a bust of Theodore Roosevelt in his Westport studio.

The sculpture has not always been controversial. Fraser said, “The two figures at [Roosevelt’s] side are guides symbolizing the continents of Africa and America, and if you choose may stand for Roosevelt’s friendliness to all races.”

Fraser also designed the buffalo nickel, as well as the “End of the Trail” sculpture of a Native American slumped over a tired horse. That work depicts the damage inflicted by Europeans on this continent’s indigenous people.

Two of James Earle Fraser’s designs.

Click here for the full New York Post story. Click here for more information on the statue. Click here for more on James Earle Fraser. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)

9 responses to “Teddy Roosevelt’s Statue: The Westport Connection

  1. What a tragedy, what a slap in the face of history that made America, that this and so many other wonderful depictions of our complicated and often cruel trajectory toward perfection are being essentially trashed by the forces of political correctness. Will this ridiculous, dangerous purge lead to the removal of the Jefferson Memorial ’cause the man had slaves; oh yes, and the WHITE house must undergo a name change.
    Not only are we imitating dictatorships that destroy past icons, we are giving to the far right, fodder for their cannons which are already aimed at the destruction of every cherished American ideal.

  2. It was the sculptors were the first wave of artists that established Westport as the arts mecca over a century ago….then came the rest!

  3. Art is often controversial. It makes us think! The quotes about Frasers work lend an education about Teddy Roosevelt and his leadership. When political correctness becomes more important than those thoughts and freedom of expression, we stifle future artists and activists from exercising their talent and rights. Our democracy was founded on freedoms and rights. Seems that history while complicated, today’s leaders feel the need to eliminate it rather than educate….Lastly, if America has become all about choosing sides, then when we eliminate our art and erase artists and leaders of the past, we eliminate the freedom to express our views literally and creatively ! With that we will eliminate our right to think and the freedom to choose a side to be on!

  4. It was meant as a compliment. Teddy was one of our best President’s and he did much for ALL peoples. Too much “woke” gets in the way of what merely is. It’s a wonderful statue and it’s very cool that it was designed by a fellow Westporter. I’m so proud. Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays and New Year!

  5. I think we need to realize here that the removal of the Teddy Roosevelt statue has nothing to do with the positives or the negatives during his presidency. It has to do with the far left woke-ism that seeks to destroy the history of our country and categorize all of our history as racist. This is similar to what the Soviet union and the Chinese governments have done over the last few hundred years (look it up – The socialist/communist revolutions used the destruction of history to blot out past successful ideology and keep the teachings of socialism/communism at the forefront of their then present day teachings and public rhetoric). This is why the far left wants to teach critical race theory and the 1619 project (as if it’s fact and history which it is not) and remove the teaching of the founding and progress of the United States which has resulted in the free-est, most prosperous and least racist countries in the world.

  6. Peter Gambaccini

    I could walk from my current apartment to the TR statue in three minutes. And I often did. I’m also as Far Left as anyone on here, but this is just stupid and sad. Yeah, I’m actually sad. The statue was my neighbor. You have to really twist yourself into a pretzel to see it as insulting to anyone – and to overlook its significance to the museum – but that’s what happens nowadays. And there are already objections by North Dakotans to having the statue in their state. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, I’ve looked at Americans from both sides now, and they’re dimwitted ignorant dunderheads.

  7. How wonderfully refreshing to see the comments above…all level-headed and fair. I knew I could depend on the readers of 06880 for some common sense on the subject.

  8. Dr Frank E Accardi

    Teddy Roosevelt ousted from Natural History and Thomas Jefferson from NYC Council Chambers .
    Absolutely absurd.
    An affront to two of the greatest and most accomplished men in the world much less America.
    It is pure hubris and a self centered view of history that justifies decisions
    such as these.
    I am afraid that we are all just destroying our heroes ,our institutions and our democratic traditions.

    Frank Accardi

  9. History is there to be learned from, not erased. Attempts to destroy it reflect a dangerous impulse that, whatever our politics, we all need to be wary of.

    Like Ms. Marino above, I’m proud of the fact that Westport sculptor did that statue and I hate the thought of it being so foolishly removed.

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