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Riverside Park

Woman's Health Protective Association map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Located along Riverside Drive at 116th Street, this marble stele and drinking fountain was designed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Woman’s Health Protective Association (WHPA) of New York City in 1909.

Bruno Louis Zimm (1876–1943), who also created the Slocum Memorial Fountain in Manhattan’s Tompkins Square Park, received the commission to sculpt this monument. Dedicated in 1910, the stele depicts two female figures holding a lamp. These forms were representative of the Association’s commitment to shedding light on the public health issues facing women. The names of its members are inscribed along the benches to the right and left of the stele.

Members of the WHPA were usually part of the city’s elite, and Charlotte Wilbour, one of the names inscribed along the Riverside Park benches, helped to found the first New York City Woman Suffrage Association in 1870. This more radical branch of the movement (in comparison with the relatively conservative chapter in Boston) lobbied against the passage of the 15th amendment, which proposed to give suffrage to African-American men. Leaders Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the male focus of the bill and suggested a new, 16th amendment in its place, one that would offer “universal suffrage” to all races, genders, and religions.

The dream of the founding suffragettes finally actualized on August 16, 1920, eleven years after this fountain was commissioned. With the vote in hand, the National Woman Suffrage Association disbanded, but its surviving members went on to become the core of the League of Women Voters and to continue the focus on women’s health issues in New York City.

Photo of the Woman's Health Protective Association Fountain in Riverside Park, Manhattan

Woman's Health Protective Association Details

  • Sculptor: Bruno Louis Zimm
  • Description: Stele, exedra, drinking fountain
  • Materials: Knoxville, Tennessee marble
  • Dimensions: H: 11'3" W: 20'9" D: 2'2"
  • Dedicated: 1910
  • Donor: Woman's Health Protective Assn.
  • Inscription: ERECTED / BY THE / WOMAN'S HEALTH / PROTECTIVE / ASSOCIATION / OF NEW YORK CITY / TO COMMEMORATE / ITS TWENTY FIFTH / YEAR OF ACTIVITY / ON BEHALF OF / THE PUBLIC HEALTH / 1884---1909 / MARY E. TRAUTMANN, PRESIDENT / ESTHER HERRMAN - FRANCES STIEBEL / HELENE S. BELL - ANNA C. HOLT /

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

Directions to Riverside Park

Know Before You Go

ParkRiverside Park

The northernmost A-dock at the 79th Street Boat Basin is currently closed to public access for structural enhancements. The dock will be further supported with non-wood pilings and a new wave screen.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2015

Riverside Park Weather

  • Thu
    Sunny
    49°F
  • Fri
    Slight Chc Drizzle
    50°F
  • Sat
    Slight Chc Drizzle
    56°F
  • Sun
    Mostly Sunny
    60°F

7-day forecast

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