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.
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.
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.