Location: 72nd Street, west side
Artist/Designer: Thomas Ball
Materials: Bronze, Quincy granite
Funding: Gordon W. Burnham
This colossal statue on a huge pedestal—34 feet high—is a larger-than-life replica of a mass-produced statuette done by Thomas Ball, which was found in many homes in the mid-nineteenth century. Wealthy businessman Gordon W. Burnham asked Ball to make a giant copy for Central Park. Daniel Webster (1782-1852) stands with his hand in his coat, looking slightly to the side, as if readying himself to deliver a speech or to argue one of the 223 cases he made before the Supreme Court.
Daniel Webster was one of the most sought-after speakers in America. Secretary of State under three different presidents, a senator for more than 19 years and three-time presidential candidate, Webster fought hard in the years before the Civil War to hold together the Union and limit dissension over the issue of slavery. A fiery orator and constitutional law expert, Webster held audiences captivated by his powerful speeches. Some liken his speeches to those more than a century later delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr.
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