Vinnie Ream Hoxie
The First American Sculptor
1847 – 1914 A.D.
This woman enjoys the distinction of being the first woman to receive an order from the United States government for a statue.
Her birthplace was in Wisconsin but the greater part of her life has been in Washington, D.C. Her father for some years held an important government position in the capital city and Miss Ream was in the employ of the post office department for some time. She at length discovered her own taste and talent for art and devoted her energies to that end with special reference to sculpture.
Her skill was such that she made busts of several prominent men, among them General Grant, John Sherman, and Thaddeus Stevens. She produced also “The Indian Girl,” a full length figure caste in bronze. “Miriam” in marble was one of her noted productions.
But the statue of Abraham Lincoln which she executed in bronze to be placed in the Capital was one of the crowning honors of her life. After having finished the model she gook it to Italy to be transferred to marble. Her parents accompanied her and together they lived in Rome for three years. For this statue she received fifteen thousand dollars.
While in Europe Gustave Doré gave Miss Ream a painting by his own hand with the inscription, “Offered to Vinnie Ream on the part of her affectionate colleague, Gustave Doré.” Spurgeon, Kaulbach, the painter, and Cardinal Antonelli sat to her for likenesses.
The statue of Admiral Farragut on the square in Washington, named for the naval war hero, is her work. When Miss Ream received the order for the statue she worked on the model in the ordinance building of the navy yard and the statue was cast from the metal of the propeller of Admiral Farragut’s flagship, The “Hartford.” While at work on the model she married Lieutenant Hoxie.
Facing Farragut square is the residence which Captain Hoxie built for himself and wife. After marriage she continued to model but for love rather than money.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.