Have you heard of Vinnie Ream?
She was an American sculptor who worked during the 19th century.
Perhaps you’ve seen her Sappho at the Smithsonian and mistook it for an Ancient Greek Masterwork?
You’ll also find that statue at her grave in Arlington National Cemetery.
She was a pretty big deal.
If you’ve ever visited the US Capitol Rotunda, then you’ve seen her most famous work, the Lincoln Memorial Statue:
She got that gig because of a bust she’d made of him while he was still alive:
Oh yeah…and she was only 17 years old when she did that.
Ream was also born in a log cabin, which adds a nice sprinkle of kismet to her Lincoln story.
And she wasn’t just the first woman to receive a commission from the US Senate, she was also the youngest human being to ever earn such an honor.
Actually, it nearly did happen that she didn’t finishing the statue – but it was because members of the Senate accused her of influencing the vote for Andrew Johnson’s impeachment and threatened to kick her out of her studio in the Capitol basement.
She also had to deal with Italians accusing her of using their sculptors in secret, instead of doing her work herself.
But when your statue stays in the Rotunda for 100 or so years after all of your critics are dead, I guess you get the last laugh:
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