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Hibbard Frederick C.

Hibbard Frederick C. (1881—1950)

Frederick C. Hibbard, master sculptor, was born June 15, 1881, on a farm in Canton, Missouri. The farm was near the banks of the Mississippi River. As a child, Hibbard spent a great deal of his time exploring the area, pausing to explore sticky clay that he found in nearby muddy ditches. Working with the clay, he sculpted some of his favorite animals. The clay ignited his fascination for the art of sculpture, a passion that remained with him for the rest of his life.

Hibbard finished high school, then attended Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Missouri, and Missouri State University where he received his training as an electrical engineer. He later attended the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago. In spite of having landed his first job as an electrician, Hibbard's interest did not lie in this area. He wanted to become a sculptor and, at that time, there was no better place to study than in Chicago. In 1901, at the age of twenty, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago to study under Lorado Taft, a master sculptor. After a year at the institute, he became an assistant to Taft and by 1904, had established his own studio in Chicago.

By 1908, Hibbard had sculpted a Confederate monument in Forsyth, Georgia, the Eagle on top of the Illinois Monument in Vicksburg, and the bronze plaque on the Confederate Monument in Raymond. One of Hibbard's first major successes came during World War I when he was selected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to erect a monument on the battlefield at Shiloh. The United Daughter of the Confederacy Monument on the Shiloh Battlefield was dedicated in 1917.

In 1919, on the heels of the Shiloh monument, the equestrian statue of Major General Ulysses S. Grant was unveiled in the Vicksburg National Military Park. The work, cast in bronze, featured General Grant mounted on his horse. Hibbard's prolific career spanned almost a half a century, from 1904 until 1948. During this time he produced over seventy sculptures for the American people to enjoy. One of these masterpieces is a twelve-foot statue of Jefferson Davis unveiled in 1936 in Frankfort, Kentucky. This would not be the only statue of the fallen Confederate president. In 1940, a second statue of Jefferson Davis was unveiled - this one in Montgomery, Alabama.

In addition to the Civil War statues, Hibbard also created some masterpieces using other subjects. Two of the most popular of these are the Mark Twain Monument and the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Monument in Hannibal, Missouri. Another statue of gigantic proportions is the effigy of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in Racine, Wisconsin. This was Hibbard's first statue to depict a first lady and possibly the first and only statue of Mary Todd Lincoln. Hibbard died in Chicago on December 12, 1950.

USSR, 1960, Mark Twain

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