Thoroughly American Victory


Capt. Levi T. Scofield, designer of the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland submitted a proposal for the “crowning figure” that would be placed atop the Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors Monument. In a letter dated December 25, 1889, addressed to commission secretary George W. Johnston, Scofield discussed his vision for a crowning figure that represented uniquely American ideals:

Dear Sir:
Since my visit with your commission, I have looked over your Circular of Instructions to sculptors in the competition for the statue to surmount your monument. I desire to ask for information on one point. Will your commission be the committee on selection of design or will the wishes of the architect – Mr. Schmitz influence largely the selection? An understanding on this point would control in the design I would propose. The European idea of Liberty is quite different from the American idea. The French sculptor Bartholdi (note: Bartholdi was sculptor for the Statue of Liberty) has represented Liberty with a torch which is quite new to the American peoples. Mr. Schmitz has represented Liberty with a wreath and wings. It is not my wish to question the propriety but will only say that the conception is new to me. The American idea is to represent Liberty with the sword and American shield; the originality to be in the method of handling the subject. I write this simply to let you know why I desire the information as to who will be the judge of the designs and not for the purpose of becoming what would be a preferable design to the Commissioners.
Very Respectfully,
Levi T. Scofield