Accidentally Historic

The Black Angel's Secret

Episode Summary

Daniel Chester French took time out from his work on the iconic seated Abraham Lincoln in Washington to come to Council Bluffs to create a memorial to Ruth Anne Dodge.  Why such a priceless work was never formally dedicated has been a mystery... until now.  Dodge researcher Robert Svacina shares the reason the Dodge family was too embarrassed of the sculpture for which they paid a fortune to hold a public ceremony.

Episode Notes

When General Grenville Dodge passed away, tens of thousands braved a blustery winter day to turn out and pay their respects.  When Ruth Anne Dodge died a couple of years later the Dodge daughters wanted their mother to be remembered at that same level, so nationally known sculptor Daniel Chester French was commissioned to create a memorial.  The planned dedication was to be grand affair, with prominent dignitaries from around the country and a city-wide celebration.  But when the piece was finally done, there was no public ceremony at all.  The reason for the dramatic change of plans has long been unknown, until discovered by Dodge researcher Robert Svacina.  In this podcast Svacina explains the motivation for the memorial, how it was built, and why the Dodge family became embarrassed by it when it was all done.