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The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

The Frederick Douglass Monument

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

Sculptor: Leonard Wells Volk
Location: Washington Square Park, Rochester
Date dedicated: May 30, 1892 (Memorial Day)

Read For our dead heroes! Grand entertainment for the benefit of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Fund at the New York State Arsenal, 1985. This item is a program for a fund-raising event held for this monument.

Scenes of the Dedication of the Monument



The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was designed by Leonard Wells Volk. It is a monument to Civil War soldiers and to President Abraham Lincoln, who is depicted on the large central column of the monument (it has also been referred to as the Lincoln Monument). When the monument was unveiled on Memorial Day of 1892, a group of about 30 dignitaries, including President Benjamin Harrison and Frederick Douglass, attended.

Leonard Wells Volk (1828-95) was an American sculptor who was mainly active in Chicago, Illinois. He had Stephen A. Douglas (a cousin of Volk's wife) as a patron. Volk is known for making one of only two life masks of Lincoln (in 1860), for statues of Lincoln and Douglas at Springfield, Illinois and for the Stephen A. Douglas Tomb & Memorial in Chicago, Illinois. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Rochester is also one of his best known works. The monument is said to weigh 461,599 pounds. It is 42 feet high. The cost in 1892 was $26,000.

The monument contains four figures in addition on Lincoln. Each represents a branch of the Union military service: Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry and Marine. There are also scenes from the war and various inscriptions:

"To those who faithful unto death gave their lives for their country: 1861-1865"

"We are in peril. They breasted the danger. The Republic called: They answered with their blood."

"We here highly resolve the dead shall not have died in vain."

More Views of the Monument

The Frederick Douglass Monument

1st location

2nd location

Sculptor: Sidney W. Edwards
Location: 1899-1941: Central Avenue and St. Paul Street (near the New York Central Railroad Station);
1941-present: Highland Park (near the site of the Douglass home which burned in 1872)
Date of the laying of the cornerstone: July 20, 1898
Date of unveiling: June 9, 1899

The monument section was made by Smith Granite Company of Westerly, Rhode Island. The model for the bronze statue was made in spring of 1898. Douglass' son Charles R. Douglass was the model for the statue. The following description is from pages 156-157 of An Authentic History of the Douglass Monument by John W. Thompson. This book has a complete description of the Douglass funeral in Rochester and the building of the monument.

You may read the entire book here:
An Authentic History of the Douglass Monument [pdf, 13.8 MB]

For pdf help, click here

Scene at the cornerstone laying

Early view of the monument

Scene at the unveiling

Gallery of Individuals Involved with the Douglass Monument

Nathan P. Pond

Benjamin Myers

Enoch R Spalding

John Van Voorhis

George A. Benton

John W. Thompson

Hester C. Jeffrey

Charles R. Douglass

William A. Sutherland

Gertrude A. Thompson

Gov. Theodore Roosevelt

Read the Dubois notebook [pdf, 4.0 MB]

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Notebook, dated Jan, 1, 1895 and containing a partial list of contributors and their contributions for the erection of a statue in honor of Frederick Douglass

What is the Dubois notebook? This notebook is believed to have been kept by Leon Dubois. It contains a list of the names of contributors to the Douglass Monument in Rochester and the amount of money pledged by each. It also has a list of various expenses incurred in planning the monument.