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.
Woman's Health Protective Association Details
- Location: Riverside Drive at 116th Street
- 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 /
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