Soldier, Statesman, Patriot: John Alexander Logan

Click image to enlarge

Soldier, Statesman, Patriot: John Alexander Logan
Lorado Taft
32 x 26 x 18 in.
Chicago Public Library
Grand Army of the Republic Collection, gift of Edmund A. Cummings
SPE GAR 72.253

It is only fitting that the Grand Army of the Republic honored General Logan with this larger than life bust. John Alexander Logan served in the Civil War, rising to the rank of Major General. After the war he became Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a national organization of Union veterans. As a radical Republican member of the House of Representatives, and later the Senate, he played a leading role in reconstruction, supporting African American voting rights and opposing lenient treatment of former Confederates. He also paid tribute to the memory of soldiers who died in the war by establishing “Decoration Day,” now known as Memorial Day.

Sculptor Lorado Taft was a tireless advocate for art. After studying at the University of Illinois and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he opened a studio in Chicago in 1886. The young sculptor's studio became a center for local artists and authors. Taft was a proponent of civic beautification through his own art as well as through his work as a teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago. While he produced many commemorative busts, such as this work of General Logan, he often felt “forced” to take on these commissions because the work paid well. Later in his career he devoted more and more of his energies to what he sincerely considered important: large public works, such as the enormous Fountain of Time in Hyde Park.

1. What features did Taft emphasize in this bust? How does the sculpture compare to H. K. Saunders’ portrait, General John A. Logan?

For information about the images, please contact Special Collections at the Chicago Public Library (