Norwegian Immigrant Contributions to America's Making (Classic Reprint)by Harry Sundby-Hansen
The plan of raising a monument to Leif Erikson, the first European to plant his feet on American soil, was first suggested by Professor Rasmus B. Anderson of Madison, Wis. In 1873 Professor Anderson suggested to the celebrated Norwegian violinist, Ole Bull, the idea that America's Norse discoverer be
Excerpt from Norwegian Immigrant Contributions to America's Making
The plan of raising a monument to Leif Erikson, the first European to plant his feet on American soil, was first suggested by Professor Rasmus B. Anderson of Madison, Wis. In 1873 Professor Anderson suggested to the celebrated Norwegian violinist, Ole Bull, the idea that America's Norse discoverer be honored with a lasting memorial. Ole Bull accepted the suggestion with enthusiasm and the two immediately began preparing plans for its realization. Ole Bull was at this time at the height of his powers and the idol of the American people. A few years later he made his American home at Cambridge, Mass. There the American Leif Erikson Monument Committee was organized.
The Committee was a brilliant one and included among its members James Russell Lowell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas S. Appleton, Professor Eben Norton Horsford, the Governor of Massachusetts, the Mayor of Boston and many other distinguished Americans.
Funds were rapidly raised and America's then most famous sculptress, Miss Anne Whitney, was commissioned to produce in bronze a statue of Leif Erikson in heroic size. The result is a great work of art. Miss Whitney seems to have taken the splendid physique and features of Ole Bull for her model, according to Professor Anderson. It represents America's discoverer as he discerns the first faint outlines of land far away on the horizon, and with his right hand he shades his eyes from the rays of the sun. Professor Horsford was the orator at the unveiling ceremonies.
A replica of the monument stands in Juneau Park, Milwaukee, Wis., on an eminence overlooking Lake Michigan. Another Leif Erikson monument by the sculptor, Sigvald Asbjørnsen, stands in Humboldt Park, Chicago, raised by a committee of the Norwegian group of that city.
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