Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Mrs. Butterworth

Amazingly, just a handful of First Ladies have been honored with statues. Until recently, only Eleanor Roosevelt, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Pat Nixon have been cast in bronze.

The newest honoree is Julia Dent Grant, the wife of our 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant.

Although 19th century photographic techniques were not kind to their subjects, the person at the other end of the lens had to still still for over a minute, and were told by the portraitist to sit with a stern gaze, by all accounts, the woman who was the first to be referred to as "First Lady" was regarded to be rather plain in appearance. She was cross eyed, but her husband liked that look, and told her not to have corrective surgery.

Some Galena residents decided that Mrs. Grant warranted a statue for the grounds of Ulysses S. Grant state historic site. Lily Tolpo, an octogenarian artist, got the job. Okay, this is going to sound cruel, but I have to say it. Tolpo received the commission for two reasons. She lived near Galena, and she was a woman.

Her completed work is horrible. As soon as it was unveiled, locals, tourists, heck everyone said, "That looks like Mrs. Butterworth," of course referring to a brand of maple syrup. It does. Her face is mis-shapen, it appears that Butterworth, I mean Grant, is suffering the mumps. To see what I mean, click on the image to make it larger.

The statue cost $103,000, and was funded by local donations.

They should ask for a refund.

Next: Ulysses S. Grant's place of work

Midwestern Presidential Pathway: Ulysses S. Grant Home


jill said...

Good grief.

Marathon Pundit said...


Jim Roper said...

Holy cow it does look like a case
of the mumps.