This bronze sculpture depicts William Earl Dodge (1805–1883), one of the founders of Phelps, Dodge, a leading mining company. Dodge helped organize the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States and served as the president of the National Temperance Society from 1865 to 1883. John Quincy Adams Ward (1830–1910) sculpted the piece, which was donated by a committee of Dodge’s friends and acquaintances and dedicated October 22, 1885.
Dodge is represented leaning on a podium while delivering a speech. The piece originally stood in Herald Square on a pedestal designed by Richard Morris Hunt (who designed the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty) until it was moved in 1941 to the northeast corner of Bryant Park, after the Bennett Memorial was installed at the square. The original Hunt-designed pedestal, discarded and replaced by the current granite base after the monument was moved from Herald Square, included a drinking fountain that commemorated Dodge’s commitment to temperance. The statue was renovated as part of an overall restoration of the park by the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, completed in 1992.
Sculptor Ward has been referred to as the “Dean of American Sculptors.” He contributed nine sculptures to the parks of New York, among them Roscoe Conkling (1893) in Madison Square Park, Alexander Holley (1888) in Washington Square Park, Henry Ward Beecher (1891) in Columbus Park, Brooklyn, Horace Greeley (1890) in City Hall Park, and The Pilgrim (1885), The Indian Hunter (1869), William Shakespeare (1872), and the Seventh Regiment Memorial (1874) in Central Park.
William Earl Dodge Details
- Sculptor: John Quincy Adams Ward
- Description: Standing figure (over life-size) on pedestal
- Materials: Bronze, granite
- Dimensions: Fgure H: 7'6" W: 2'10" D: 2'4"; Pedestal H: 6'6" W: 3'8" D: 3'8"
- Cast: 1885
- Dedicated: October 22, 1885
- Foundry: Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company, New York
- Donor: Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York
- Inscription: Signed on sculpture, proper right:
J Q A WARD / SCULPTOR / 1885 /
WILLIAM EARL DODGE /
ERECTED BY / VOLUNTARY SUBSCRIPTION / UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE / CHAMBER OF COMMERCE / OF THE / STATE OF NEW YORK / 1885