Lincoln Discussion Symposium

Full Version: Vinnie Ream - An American Sculptor
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Interesting young lady. She made the statue of Lincoln that is in the Capital when she was only 18. Book written by Edward Cooper and about 265 pages. I'll give it B-. Filled with info I really didn't care about (such as a detailed description of her wedding dress, and places she stayed in Europe) and left out a lot of things I would have liked to have known. I don't feel like a know much about her personality. She was a prolific letter writer, but he doesn't quote from many of her letters. She was a very attractive, outgoing and vivacious young lady, and it seems this may be reflected in her letters to and from influential politicians of her day. Her husband pretty well put a stop to her sculpting career, so there was some tension in her marriage, but the book deals lightly with that. "Finally, to gain some peace, she put aside her tools." " Vinnie was only thirty five years old, and she felt trapped by the conventions of marriage."

Vinnie has a close relationship with George Custer's wife after Custer dies, and perhaps, at one time, an even a closer relationship with George.

"When her son was six years old, a playmate shot him with an air rifle and the pellet penetrated his skull, pressing on his brain. Surgeons said that only an operation to remove the pellet would save the child from metal retardation, but there was only one chance in a thousand the he would survive the operation. Vinnie refused to allow the operation, and the boy remained at a six year old mental level" I would have like to have known a little more about this and how she dealt with it, but that is all the author had to say. It's not till the epilogue is it mentioned he dies around the age of 53 of cancer at a sanitarium in Missouri where he had lived for over 20 years.

A fair book, but it could have been better. (I shouldn't complain, I bought the book used - very good, off Amazon for $1.50)

(I just found this a few minutes ago on Google books. Isn't life interesting?)
Gene: are you familiar with the book Lincoln in Sculpture by Carl Volkmann? It's in softback only, I think. It contains short entries on Lincoln statues in Illinois. I highly recommend it.
Not familiar with, but it sounds interesting. I am in the Atlanta area today and picked up an interesting book at an antique store. It is about the souths reaction to Lincoln's assassination. The lady who wrote it was 82 when it was printed. More on this after I actually read it.
That does sound interesting. What is the title and who authored it?
When the Bells Toiled for Lincoln - Southern Reaction to the Assassination by Carolyn Harrell. The book was copyrighted 1997. Ms Harrell was born in 1911 and still alive when it was printed. It has 107 pages, footnotes, and an extensive bibliography. I paid $4
Thanks Gene!
I tend to agree with Gene, that this is a good but not great treatment of this fascinating young woman. It does have flaws (a bit too much useless detail, e.g., the list of Vinnie's father's expenditures at one point). She certainly knew how to use her feminine wiles to lobby aggressively at all levels of government. Some real eye-opening (if not eye-popping) moments are herein, of which my favorite is having two of her lovers, the absolutely besotted Albert Pike and "Uncle Billy" Sherman as the best man and father of the bride for her wedding to a man who thought he could tame her. To a certain extent he succeeded, though, and she sadly shelved her career. I wouldn't say this was a page-turner, but I learned a great deal about how Washington worked back then (as much to learn about Congress as about Vinnie). As another thread on this board discusses (really: take the time to go back and search all the threads with her name), Vinnie did tend to stretch the truth a little, but I have no doubt, for instance, that Mary Lincoln had no idea that Vinnie was in her husband's office as he worked, making sketches for her model of his statue. But, bottom line: if you can get a good used copy, snag it and enjoy an intriguing life story.
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