Gutzon Borglum - Sculptor

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial is situated in the Black Hills of South Dakota and has the largest figures of any statue in the world.  From left to right are depicted the faces of United States Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. 

Gutzon Borglum (John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum)  (1871-1941)  Sculptor and painter, born March 25, 1871 in Idaho and educated in public schools of Nebraska.  Studied art in San Francisco and Paris.  He received his Master of Arts from Princeton University and L.L.D., Oglethorpe University.  He painted, studied and traveled in Spain, Europe, and England until 1901 when he settled in New York.  Among his many marbles and bronzes are Sheridan Equestrian, Washington D.C. and Chicago, Illinois; colossal marble head of Lincoln in the rotunda of of the U.S. Capitol; bronze group, Mares of Diomeded in the Metropolitan Museum; Lincoln, Newark, New Jersey; Trudeau memorial, Saranac Lake; Trail Drivers Memorial, Texas.  He designed and began carving the Confederate Memorial on the face of Stone Mountain, Georgia, but a controversy arose with the association and he destroyed all the plans and models.  Borglum designed the Confederate half-dollar as well.  His greatest work, however, is the Black Hills carving which he designed and officially started on August 10, 1927, when President Coolidge dedicated it.  He lived to see the fourth head unveiled in 1939, but not to complete the work--which was done by his son Lincoln q.v. in 1941.

Borglum was an active Freemason, being raised in Howard Lodge No. 35, New York City on June 10, 1904, and serving as its Worshipful Master in 1910-11.  In 1915 he was appointed grand representative of the Grand Lodge of Denmark near the Grand Lodge of New York.  He received his Scottish Rite Degrees in New York City Consistory on October 25, 1907, but was suspended in 1921.  His Lodge possesses the gavel used by him in the form of a bronze lion's paw, holding a stone from Solomon's Temple.  He executed the bust of Edward M. L. Ehlers, who was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York, that is now in the Grand Lodge Library.  His memorial "Silence" is in the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Hospital at the Masonic Home in Utica, New York.  The cornerstone of his studio on the hills above Stamford, Conn. was laid with Masonic ceremonies by the Grand Master of New York under special dispensation from Connecticut.  He died on March 6, 1941.

Lincoln Borglum, his son, and also a Freemason in Battle River Lodge No. 92 of Hermosa, South Dakota, worked with his father on the Mt. Rushmore memorial since 1932.  He was in charge of measurements and enlarging models from 1934-38 and superintendent of the memorial since 1938.  Following the death of his father in 1941, he was assigned to complete the memorial.




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