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EXERCISES AT THE DEDICATION 
OF THE FERGUSON FOUNTAIN 
im OF THE GREAT LAKES ^ 
CHICAGO, SEPTEMBER 9, 1913 



DEDICATION OF 

THE FERGUSON FOUNTAIN OF 

THE GREAT LAKES 

CHICAGO 
SEPTEMBER 9, 1913 

BENJAMIN F. FERGUSON, DONOR 
LORADO TAFT, SCULPTOR 



TRUSTEES OF THE B. F. FERGUSON 
FUND, 1913-14 

Being the Board of Trustees of the Art 
Institute of Chicago 



EDWARD E. AYER 
ADOLPHUS C. BARTLETT 
JOHN C. BLACK 
CHAUNCEY J. BLAIR 
EDWARD B. BUTLER 
CLYDE M. CARR 
WALLACE L. DE WOLF 
HENRY H. GETTY 
JOHN J. GLESSNER 
WILLIAM O. GOODMAN 



FRANK W. GUNSAULUS 
CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON 
BRYAN LATHROP 
FRANK G. LOGAN 
R. HALL McCORMICK 
JOHN J. MITCHELL 
SAMUEL M. NICKERSON 
HONORE PALMER 
MARTIN A. RYERSON 
HOWARD SHAW 



ALBERT A. SPRAGUE 

Ex-Officio 

CARTER H. HARRISON 

Mayor 
JOHN E. TRAEGER, 

Comptroller 

JOHN BARTON PAYNE, 

President South Park Commissioners 

JOSEPH DONNERSBERGER, 

Auditor South Park Commissioners 



OFFICERS 

CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON President 

MARTIN A. RYERSON \ v - Presidenta 

FRANK G. LOGAN / 

ERNEST A. HAMILL Treasurer 

WILLIAM M. R. FRENCH Director 

WILLIAM A. ANGELL Auditor 

NEWTON H. CARPENTER Secretary 

WILLIAM F. TUTTLE Assistant Secretary 



INTRODUCTORY 



INTRODUCTORY 

Benjamin Franklin Ferguson, an old and 
respected business man of Chicago, died 
April 10, 1905. By Ms will, after providing 
certain small bequests to relatives, lie com- 
mitted to the Northern Trust Company, a 
corporation existing by virtue of the laws of 
the State of Illinois, all his estate, real, per- 
sonal, and mixed, in trust, for certain uses 
and purposes described as follows : 

The Trustee is to reduce all of the estate 
(except a certain piece of real estate be- 
queathed to a relative) to first-class mort- 
gages and bonds. If the estate falls below 
one million dollars, the income is to be ac- 
cumulated to that amount; provided that 
certain annuities to relatives and cemetery 
associations (amounting to seven thousand 
three hundred dollars annually) shall in any 
case be regularly paid. Four other annuities 
of one thousand dollars each to publi c institu- 
tions, one of them the Art Institute, are pro- 
vided, when the estate reaches one million 
dollars. 

The Trustee, after accumulating the es- 
tate to one million dollars and setting aside 

7 



8 Introduction 

the above annuities and the Trustee's com- 
pensation not exceeding one-half of one per 
cent, shall pay the entire net income annu- 
ally or oftener "to the Art Institute of 
Chicago, to be known as the B. F. Ferguson 
Fund, and entirely and exclusively expended 
by it under the direction of its Board of 
Trustees in the erection and maintenance 
of enduring statuary and monuments, in the 
whole or in part of stone, granite or bronze, 
in the parks, along the boulevards or in other 
public places, within the city of Chicago, 
Illinois, commemorating worthy men or 
women of America or important events of 
American history. The plans or designs for 
such statuary or monuments and the loca- 
tion of the same shall be determined by the 
Board of Trustees of such Institute. " 

THE B. F. FERGUSON FUND 

The Trustees of the Art Institute of Chi- 
cago are Trustees of the income of the Fer- 
guson sculpture fund. The only completed 
monument thus far erected is the Ferguson 
Fountain of the Great Lakes, south of the 
Art Institute. 

A monument commemorative of the ad- 
mission of Illinois to the Union in 1818, by 



Introduction 9 

Henry Bacon, architect, to be erected on the 
West Side, is under consideration. 

Mr. Lorado Taft has been commissioned 
to prepare full-size models of his proposed 
Fountain of Time to be erected upon the Mid- 
way. Mr. Taft has been authorized at a fixed 
price to model the fountain in plaster, ready 
to be cut in marble, the preparatory models 
to be completed within five years. There 
is an accumulation of the fund now in the 
hands of the Trustees, more than sufficient 
for all obligations incurred. The Trustees, 
therefore, are not precluded from under- 
taking other works during the coming years. 

The B. F. Ferguson Fund at present 
exceeds a million dollars. It is subject to 
certain charges for annuities, taxes, and cost 
of administration, and the annual income ap- 
plicable to sculpture is somewhat less than 
thirty thousand dollars. 



BIOGRAPHICAL 



BIOGRAPHICAL 

Benjamin Franklin Ferguson was born at 
Columbia, Pa., in 1839, and was educated 
in the public schools there, finishing with a 
course in the Millersville Normal School. 
At the age of seventeen he went into his 
father's lumber yard at Columbia, and con- 
tinued there three years, when he went to 
New York, and was engaged for a time in 
an auctioneering business with Robinson, 
Scott & Co. In 1861 he joined the Union 
Army, and was stationed at Alexandria, 
Va., in charge of the hay department of that 
section. It does not appear that he was an en- 
listed soldier ; he may have been connected 
with the Quartermaster's department. In 
1865 he came to Chicago, and again engaged 
in the lumber business, in the employ of the 
late Jesse Spalding. Later he became the 
Chicago manager of R. Schulenberg of St. 
Louis in a similar business. In 1867 he 
went into business for himself, and was con- 
nected successively with the firms of E. 
Little & Co., Ferguson & Auten, and the 
South Branch Lumber Company. In this 
last company Mr. Ferguson was associated 

IS 



14 Biographical 

with Jacob and Francis Beidler, and the 
business, with large yards at Chicago and at 
Tonawanda, N. Y., became very flourishing 
and extensive. Mr. Ferguson extended his 
activities to the southern part of the coun- 
try, and was President of the Santee Eiver 
Cypress Lumber Company in South Caro- 
lina. He was a plain business man, self- 
reliant and especially distinguished for his 
skill in buying. 

In 1866 he was married to Myra Finney 
of Cedar River, Michigan, who died about 
1898. There were no children of the mar- 
riage. 

During the last ten or twelve years of his 
life, from about 1893, Mr. Ferguson partly 
withdrew himself from the cares of business, 
and sought recreation in travel in the United 
States and abroad. He had a cottage at 
Buzzard's Bay, Mass., near Wareham, and 
it is said that he spent there his happiest 
days, cruising on the bay, reading in his 
library, or walking with his dogs. He was 
a contributor in a quiet way to the charities 
of the city, and he was a subscriber to the 
statue of Washington, which stands at the 
Grand Boulevard entrance to Washington 
Park. He died in Chicago, April 10, 1905. 



Biographical 15 

It is said that when traveling in Europe 
Mr. Ferguson was much impressed with the 
decoration of foreign cities with statues and 
monuments, and upon his return to Chicago 
was much impressed with the destitution of 
similar adornments here. 



.ti '.- .- I jj ~ ' r ~ o ' - rr r j r 




THE FERGUSON FOUNTAIN OF THE GREAT LAKES 



EXERCISES OF DEDICATION OF THE 

FERGUSON FOUNTAIN OF THE 

GREAT LAKES 

The dedication of the Ferguson Fountain 
took place on Tuesday, September 9, 1913, 
at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The day was 
beautiful. A thousand chairs were set in 
the open air south of the Art Institute 
facing the fountain, and a low platform 
was provided for the speakers. An audi- 
ence made up of Trustees and Members of 
the Art Institute, friends of Mr. Ferguson 
and of the sculptor, and other interested 
spectators, overflowed the seats, and pre- 
sented, with the moving throngs on Michi- 
gan Avenue and the crowded windows of the 
neighboring buildings, a lively and inspir- 
ing spectacle. The exercises were opened by 
prayer by Dr. F. W. Gunsaulus, after which 
the programme was as follows : 

Music by the Chicago Band 

William Weil, Conductor 

Coronation March from "The Prophet" 
Meyerbeer 

Overture "Triumph" Suppe 

19 



20 Exercises of Dedication 

ADDRESS BY THE SCULPTOR, MR. LORADO TAFT 
Music 

Fanfare from "Parsival" Wagner 

THE PRESENTATION OP THE FOUNTAIN 

Mr. Charles L. Hutchinson, President of 

the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute 

of Chicago 
THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE FOUNTAIN 

Mr. John Barton Payne, President of the 

Board of South Park Commissioners 
INTRODUCTION OF WATER TO THE FOUNTAIN 
Music 

Hallelujah Chorus from "The Messiah " 
Handel 

"The Star Spangled Banner. " 

The full recognition of the sculptor was a 
pleasant and rather unusual feature of the 
occasion. In his address Mr. Taf t said that 
the personification of the Great Lakes in 
sculpture was suggested by D. H. Burnham, 
the architect. Mr. Hutchinson called atten- 
tion to the appropriateness of this subject as 
a memorial of Mr. Ferguson, since the great 
lakes were the scene of much of his busi- 
ness activity. Judge Payne pointed out the 
necessity of material prosperity among citi- 
zens like Mr. Ferguson as the basis of great 



Exercises of Dedication 21 

works of art. At the pressure of a button 
by the little daughter of the sculptor, the 
water flowed in the fountain, pouring from 
shell to shell held by the hands of the young 
female draped figures representing the lakes. 
On the great granite block back of the group 
is a bas-relief portrait of Mr. Ferguson in 
bronze between two bronze panels of laurel 
branches, with the following inscription : 

"Benjamin Franklin Ferguson be- 
queathed in trust to the Trustees of the Art 
Institute of Chicago a fund of one million 
dollars to be known as the B. F. Ferguson 
Monument Fund. The income derived from 
the fund must be used for the erection and 
maintenance of enduring statuary and monu- 
ments in the parks, along the boulevards, or 
in other public places within the city of Chi- 
cago commemorating worthy men or women 
of America or important events of her his- 
tory. Anno Domini MCMXIII." 




THE FERGUSON FOUNTAIN OF THE GREAT LAKES 

Central Group 



ADDRESS OF LORADO TAFT 

SCULPTOR OF THE 
FERGUSON FOUNTAIN 



ADDRESS OP 

LORADO TAFT 

Mr. Taf t spoke as follows : 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen : I 
have been asked to say a few words on the 
origin of this fountain, but before doing so 
I wish to acknowledge here my indebted- 
ness not only to the Trustees of the Fer- 
guson fund, who have given me my oppor- 
tunity, but to my long-time friend and co- 
laborer, Jules Berchem, the founder, who 
makes as good bronze castings right here in 
Chicago as you can find in Paris or Munich ; 
to the architects, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, 
who have aided me so much, and especially 
their representative, Mr. Puckey, indefatiga- 
ble and omniscent in detail; and finally, 
but never to be forgotten, my good friends 
of the Municipal Art League who kept me 
encouraged through so many wistful years, 
assuring me that Chicago should have the 
Fountain of the Great Lakes, if they had to 
beg the money on the street corners. 

It happened in this way: Almost twenty 
years ago I remember it was soon after 
the World's Fair I was on my way, one 

25 



26 Address Lorado Taft 

evening, to Evanston, and chanced to sit 
beside Mr. Burnham. We were talking of 
the triumphs of that most beautiful of all 
expositions, and Mr. Burnham criticised 
gently the lack of initiative of our sculptors, 
remarking that he was sorry that none of 
us had thought to make a fountain personi- 
fying the Great Lakes. I recognized at once 
the beauty of the suggestion and felt appro- 
priately ashamed that none of us should 
have thought of it. Later I made the sketch 
which has developed in the course of years 
into the group before you. 

There was a long dreary period after the 
World's Fair, a hopeless eternity of depres- 
sion and longing illumined only now and 
then by the ghoulish hope of a death-mask 
of a prominent citizen and a possible bust. 
It came over me gradually that the coy 
attitude of our artists, like a girl waiting to 
be proposed to, was not a success. That 
while our public needed sculpture, it did not 
know it and never would guess it unless 
someone showed it what it wanted ! It was 
high time to visualize some of those pent-up 
emotions. But sculpture is an expensive 
craft, like architecture in that respect, 
and its most beautiful dreams are impotent 



Address Lorado Tafl 27 

unless you can externalize them. By good 
fortune I chanced to have at the same mo- 
ment here in the Art Institute a large class 
of young people eager for something to do. 
We began to devise subjects for their united 
efforts. One year we did the notorious 
Nymph Fountain, which " astonished the 
world" upon this very spot. The next year, 
I think it was, five of my young sculptors 
made from a sketch of mine the first model 
of the ' ' Great Lakes. ' ' They were less than 
life size, they were not very good and being 
made separately they did not fit together 
very well. But the people liked the idea and I 
was encouraged to do them again. I did so, 
this time doing the work entirely myself, 
though at intervals between lecture trips, 
and writing, and teaching, and " death- 
masquerading. " It was a rather desperate 
time, but there was a leit motif of hope run- 
ning through those days and months. When 
at last the group was finished and exhibited, 
it found friends, and some never ceased to 
work for it until the order was assured. 
This first model was made in my little studio 
in the Fine Arts Building, a space but little 
wider than the group, so that I never saw 
the ends of the composition from any dis- 



28 Address Lorado Tafl 

tance. Upon receiving the definite order 
from the Ferguson Committee I made the 
group all over again, enlarging the figures 
from seven and one-half feet to ten feet. 

The motif of the group is not profound. 
I have sometimes wondered if it were not 
too obvious. "Lake Superior" on high and 
"Lake Michigan" at the side both empty 
into the basin of "Lake Huron," who sends 
the waters on to "Lake Erie" whence "Lake 
Ontario" receives them. As they escape 
from her basin and hasten into the unknown, 
she reaches wistfully after them as though 
questioning whether she has been neglectful 
of her charge. The exigencies of placing 
have made her reach toward Saint Louis in- 
stead of the Saint Lawrence, but you are 
requested to overlook this solecism. 

Some have thought that my personifica- 
tions of the Lakes are, or should be Indians. 
Naturally the idea suggested itself to me, 
but was never seriously entertained, since 
the Indian type of womanhood is hardly our 
ideal, while a classic Diana in moccasins and 
feathers, a prettified, characterless Indian, 
is no longer acceptable in art. Back of this 
however, is the feeling that these creatures 
should be of no time nor race. They are 



Address Lorado Tafl 29 

the Danaides of the new world whose im- 
memorial task was solaced for a moment by 
the canoes and camp fires of the red-skins. 

But we are gathered here for another pur- 
pose. We come to do honor to a good man, 
a man of imagination and vision. I never 
met Mr. Ferguson, but I wish that I had. I 
remember what a thrill I felt when the sig- 
nificance of his unprecedented benefaction 
first dawned upon me. I felt that I should 
have known Trim. I wanted to thank him 
personally in the name of all Chicago, the 
Chicago of to-day and of the many to- 
morrows. And I would have thanked him 
with still greater emotion in the name of Chi- 
cago 's new school of sculptors, which this 
bequest makes possible, the group of men 
and women who will bring a fair fame to our 
city as the direct result of this gift. 

I mentioned this desire to a friend, who 
remarked dryly that perhaps it was well that 
I had not met Mr. Ferguson : if he had heard 
my wild talk he might have changed his will 
and left everything to an asylum or library. 
But whether or no he foresaw the workers 
as well as the work; whether the sculptors 
and architects entered into his consciousness, 
this remains to me the highest cause of en- 



30 Address Lorado Taft 

thusiasm and gratitude, that artists are 
growing up in our midst who shall win for 
our city recognition in the world of beauty, 
who shall crown our commercial life as was 
crowned the commercial lif e of Athens and 
Florence and Venice. 

What Chicago lacks, what all our new 
American cities so deplorably lack is a back- 
ground. Our traditions are all before us. 
Our homes, our streets, our lives are casual 
We need something to give us a greater 
solidarity to put a soul into our com- 
munityto make us love this place above 
all others. This Art alone can do. Jane 
Addams has understood it when she wrote : 

" . After all, what is the func- 

tion of Art, but to preserve in permanent 
and beautiful form those emotions and 
solaces which cheer life and make it kindlier, 
more heroic and easier to comprehend; 
which lift the mind of the worker from the 
harshness and loneliness of his task, and by 
connecting him with what has gone before, 
free him from a sense of the isolation and 
hardship?" 

Such is the value of monuments ; such is 
the potency of this ancient, awfully perma- 
nent art of sculpture. It bears its message 
through the ages, reaching a hand in either 



Address Lorado Toft 31 

direction, binding together as it were the 
generations of men. On mouldering stone 
and corroded bronze we read the aspirations 
of a vanished race. In the same materials 
we send our greetings to myriads of souls 
unborn. There is elation in the thought. It 
is immortality. 

Gentlemen, shall I confess it? I have 
looked upon your splendid citizenship with 
admiration, sometimes not untouched with 
envy. I have been jealous of your privilege 
of doing splendid things for our Chicago. 
Do you wonder then that it is with deep feel- 
ing that I thank you and Mr. Ferguson for 
permitting me to join you as a stockholder 
in this community, a contributor in some 
small way to its heritage ? 



ADDRESS OF PRESENTATION BY 

CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON 

PRESIDENT OF THE TRUSTEES 

OF THE FERGUSON FUND 




THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO 

Showing the Ferguson Fountain 



ADDRESS OF 

CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON 

Mr. Hutchinson spoke as follows : 

We are here to dedicate the Ferguson 
Fountain of the Great Lakes, and to pre- 
sent it in the name of B. F. Ferguson to the 
citizens of Chicago. It is an important event 
in the artistic development of our city. It 
is also a notable event in our civic life, for 
the noble example set by Mr. Ferguson ranks 
with the generosity of his benefaction. We 
see before us the first tangible illustration of 
the wisdom of a loyal and devoted citizen. 

This is but one of many monuments which 
will in time be erected and add greatly to the 
beauty of our city. They will give pleas- 
ure and inspiration to thousands of our fel- 
low citizens by recalling to memory great 
Americans and events, notable in the history 
of our country. Think of all that will be ac- 
complished in the course of a hundred years 
through the generosity of Mr. Ferguson. It 
is difficult to conceive of the glory of it all, 
made possible by his f arsighted benevolence. 

Mr. Ferguson came to Chicago at the close 
of the Civil War, and devoted himself to 

35 



36 Address Charles L. Hutchinson 

business. Its pursuits led Mm to and fro 
upon the Great Lakes. He was well known 
in all their lumber ports, and where he was 
known he was always held in high esteem. 
He spent many years of his life in traversing 
the waters of Lake Superior, Lake Michi- 
gan and Lake Huron. It is therefore highly 
appropriate that the first monument to be 
erected from the proceeds of the B. F. Fer- 
guson Monument Fund, should be this Foun- 
tain of the Great Lakes. It is gratifying to 
the Trustees of The Art Institute to have one 
of Mr. Ferguson's intimate friends write 
that "no better selection could have been 
made to commemorate the activities of the 
donor, in his chosen business, the lumber 
trade. Fitting it is that this field of his oper- 
ation should be given expression in so unique 
a manner. ' ' The trustees chosen by Mr. Fer- 
guson, however, claim no credit for fore- 
sight in the matter, since the selection of the 
Fountain was one of those happy circum- 
stances or unexpected coincidences, so ap- 
propriate that men of faith sometimes call 
them special providences. 

We are fortunate in having among our 
citizens a great artist, Mr. Lorado Taf t. For 
several years he worked faithfully to give 



Address Charles L. Hutchinson 37 

adequate expression to one of Ms noble con- 
ceptions. The result of his thought and 
labor was a model of this Fountain of the 
Great Lakes. It was exhibited to the public 
just at the time when the Trustees of Mr. 
Ferguson were seeking a design for a monu- 
ment to be erected in his memory and was 
selected by them without hesitation. The 
city is to be congratulated upon possessing 
an artist capable of creating this beautiful 
fountain, and at the same time a citizen so 
generous and of such great vision as to en- 
able the artist to put his ideas into perma- 
nent form. 

During his life among us, Mr. Ferguson 
was a modest, unassuming citizen, devoting 
most of his time to his business, but, as with 
many other business men, his thoughts were 
not all given to affairs of commercial life. He 
was a dreamer of dreams. He had visions 
of a City Beautiful and a strong desire to 
aid in the upbuilding of such a city. He saw 
that it was within his power to be of mate- 
rial service in the building of such a city 
here at home, and he resolved to act and to 
act generously. He decided to devote prac- 
tically his entire estate to the purpose in his 
mind. It was to create a fund of at least 



38 Address Charles L. Hutchinson 

one million dollars, the proceeds of which 
should forever be devoted to the realization 
of his dream. At this time the value of his 
estate was considerably less than the desired 
amount, so for years he allowed it to accu- 
mulate, that in the end the sum should be 
adequate to do the great work he had in 
mind. He made a will. This will provides 
that "the income of this permanent Trust 
Fund of not less than one million dollars 
shall annually be paid to the Art Institute 
of Chicago, to be known as the B. F. Fer- 
guson Monument Fund, and entirely and 
exclusively used and expended by it under 
the direction of its Board of Trustees in the 
erection and maintenance of enduring statu- 
ary and monuments in the whole or in part 
of stone, granite or bronze, in the parks, 
along the boulevards, or in other public 
places within the City of Chicago, Illinois, 
commemorating worthy men or women of 
America, or important events of American 
history. The plans or designs for such statu- 
ary or monuments and the location of the 
same shall be determined by the Board of 
Trustees of the Art Institute." 

You may read this provision of his will 
upon the other side of this granite back- 



Address Charles L. Hutchinson 39 

ground where it will be placed in letters of 
bronze beneath the portrait of Mr. Fergu- 
son. Future generations will read this sim- 
ple declaration and looking about the city to 
see all that the Trustees of Mr. Ferguson 
have been able to accomplish through its 
simple provision, will wonder at the far- 
sighted wisdom of this man, who loved his 
fellowmen and sought to be of service to 
them sought not only to minister to their 
esthetic sense, but to arouse their patriotism 
as well. 

In this age of steam and electricity, when 
the affairs of the world seem to be controlled 
by corporations and run by machinery, we 
are apt to lose sight of the value of the in- 
dividual. In this age of democracy the in- 
dividual is .as valuable and even more neces- 
sary than ever. Mr. Ferguson brings this 
clearly before us by his deliberate and care- 
fully considered thought as expressed so sim- 
ply in his will. The Trustees of the Art 
Institute feel honored by the confidence 
placed in them by Mr. Ferguson, and appre- 
ciate the responsibility of so great a trust. 
I feel sure that the people of Chicago will 
have no just cause for complaint of the man- 
ner in which the Trust will be administered. 



40 Address Charles L. Hutchinson 

At present it is the intention of the Trustees 
of Mr. Ferguson not to devote the proceeds 
of his fund to trivial works, but rather to 
seek to erect monuments worthy of the donor 
and the great city which he sought to benefit. 

It is proper that the first monument to be 
erected from the proceeds of the Ferguson 
fund should be one in memory of the donor. 

Judge Payne as President of the Trus- 
tees of the Art Institute I have the honor of 
presenting to the South Park Commis- 
sioners, this monument, the first to be erected 
from the B. F. Ferguson Monument Fund, 
and to be known as the Ferguson Fountain of 
the Great Lakes, and I ask all present to 
stand as I pronounce the name of him whom 
we would honor to-day, Benjamin Frank- 
lin Ferguson. 




THE FERGUSON FOUNTAIN OF THE GREAT LAKES 

Reliefs on reverse 



ADDRESS OF ACCEPTANCE BY 
HONORABLE JOHN BARTON PAYNE 

PRESIDENT OF THE 

SOUTH PARK COMMISSIONERS 

OF CHICAGO 



ADDRESS OF 

HONORABLE JOHN BARTON PAYNE 

Judge Payne spoke as follows : 

In accepting this splendid monument for 
and on behalf of the South Park Commis- 
sioners, I speak not only for the Commis- 
sioners but for the people of the City of Chi- 
cago. 

It is singularly appropriate that the first 
great work, the result of the splendid be- 
quest of B. P. Ferguson, should typify the 
Great Lakes. 

Bodies of water have always been the sub- 
ject of song and story. Rome celebrated its 
Tiber, Florence its Arno, Paris its Seine, 
London its Thames. 

Well may Chicago celebrate our great 
chain of lakes, our inland seas, Erie, On- 
tario, Huron, Michigan and Superior. 

How wonderfully these names lend them- 
selves to poetry, song and story, and how the 
rivers fade into insignificance when com- 
pared with these Great Lakes ! 

It is said that Chicago lacks a background ; 
that its citizenship is affected by material- 
ism; that we have not devoted ourselves to 

43 



44 Address John Barton Payne 

the arts and to the humanities as we might 
have done. People who make these reflec- 
tions forget that art and devotion to the 
humanities for their own sake are the ripe 
fruits of civilization. They follow that 
splendid materialism which is expressed in 
the life, the business, and the commercial 
success of a city like Chicago. Chicago is not 
alone in this respect. Every great center 
where art now flourishes, contains or has 
passed through commercial success. It is 
impossible to have the ripe flower of civiliza- 
tionart, poetry and song without means 
and leisure: leisure to think, to study, to 
work, and means to render this possible. In- 
deed, materialism is as old as man. And 
after all materialism represents those things 
which make for the creature comforts, and 
is objectionable only when the better things 
of life are smothered, and it becomes the 
end, not merely the means. That it is not 
peculiar to our own time is abundantly 
shown by history. 

More than thirteen hundred years ago Ed- 
win, the Saxon King of Northumbria, con- 
vened a great council to determine whether 
our forefathers should adopt the Christian 
religion. The Chief Priest of the old reli- 



Address John Barton Payne 45 

gion came before the assembled council and 
made a speech, in which among other things 
he said: 

"I have found the old gods to be impost- 
ers, of this I am satisfied. Look at me. I 
have been serving them all my life; they 
have done nothing for me, whereas if they 
had been really powerful they could not have 
decently done less in return for all I have 
done for them, than to have made my for- 
tune. As they have never made my fortune, 
I am convinced that they are imposters." 

Whereupon his materialism was approved, 
and the Christian religion formally adopted 
as the religion of the country. 

It is safe, therefore, to say that material- 
ism, the desire for personal gain, for mate- 
rial advancement, is part and parcel of hu- 
man nature. It is the soil, the mature culti- 
vation of which produces the means, while 
history and time produce the background 
indispensable for the development of art. 

You cannot have the flower and fruit with- 
out the seed, the soil and the patient labor : 
time and the means are indispensable. 

This is happily illustrated by what we have 
here to-day. Lorado Taft, one of the few 
great sculptors of this age, has placed a 
crown upon the forehead of our Great Lakes. 



46 Address John Barton Payne 

How has he been enabled to do this ? It could 
not have been done without the union of 
genius and a lifetime of study and toil neces- 
sary to prepare for such a work, and this 
would have been impossible without the ex- 
penditure of a large sum of money, which 
might never have been available but for the 
munificent bequest of this large-minded, far- 
seeing, successful business man, typical of 
Chicago. 

This was B. F. Ferguson, a lumberman. 
Born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, in 1839, he 
was educated in the common schools, and for 
a brief time in a normal school ; began busi- 
ness when seventeen years of age ; was in the 
Civil War ; in 1865 came to Chicago and be- 
came an employee in a lumber business. His 
natural ability and enterprise pushed him 
forward to success. He was associated in 
his business career with other enterprising 
Chicago business men, some of whom are 
now living. In 1905, after having spent 
thirty years in the lumber business, he died. 

By his will he gave the principal part of 
his fortune (not a great one as fortunes are 
now measured) to the Trustees of the Art 
Institute, as its President has told you, to be 
devoted to the creation of monuments to 



Address John Barton Payne 47 

mark the lives of great men and great na- 
tional events. The result, therefore, of this 
typical Chicago business man's life, joined 
with the genius of a Chicago sculptor, has 
given us this great monument to our Great 
Lakes. 

Chicago materialism has taken a great 
step in its march toward a higher civiliza- 
tion. 

What is thus true of Chicago was true of 
Florence, and of other cities now celebrated 
for their art. Art followed material success. 
This afforded means and opportunity for in- 
tellectual growth, for the development of 
genius. 

The history of Florence affords a striking 
illustration and proof of this fact. Giov- 
anni de 'Medici amassed a great fortune, and 
by his adroitness procured the elevation of 
his friends to the chief offices and became 
virtually ruler of the Republic of Florence. 
His son, Cosimo, inherited this vast fortune, 
was not only a great banker, but a statesman, 
and patron of literature, and like his father 
practically ruled the Republic. Florence 
was passing through the period of material- 
ism. Then came Lorenzo de 'Medici, "The 
Magnificent," celebrated as a statesman, a 



48 Address John Barton Payne 

patron of art and letters, and under his 
leadership Florence obtained the position 
which she has since held in the world of art. 

Chicago should not, therefore, decry mate- 
rialism any more than she should decry her 
commercial supremacy, but should cultivate 
and mould this materialism and use the bene- 
fits which it brings until we have the ripe 
fruit of civilization, love for our fellow man, 
the humanities which teach us all that we 
have lived to little purpose unless we can 
leave the world better for our having lived 
in it. 

,There is much to be done in Chicago by 
men of wealth, and the greatest incentive to 
wise giving. Persons of large means cannot 
find a better illustration than B. F. Fergu- 
son's in this behalf. If he had divided his 
fortune into small benefactions this splen- 
did monument would have been impossible. 
The amount would not have been sufficient 
to accomplish a great work. Men should dis- 
pose of their fortunes so as to accomplish 
the largest good ; to do some one thing effect- 
ively, to the end that the success which char- 
acterized their lives should continue after 
them in the wise disposition made of their 
accumulated means. 



Address John Barton Payne 49 

I cannot let this occasion pass without a 
word of the work of the Art Institute, its 
officers and trustees. Few realize how large 
a place it occupies and is entitled to occupy 
in the life of this city, and the splendidly 
effective work it accomplishes both as a 
museum of art and as a teacher of art. The 
influence of its magnificent collections and 
the more than three thousand students year 
in and year out, upon the life of Chicago, 
and the great Middle West, is beyond any 
human calculation, and Mr. Ferguson was 
exceedingly wise in selecting the Trustees of 
the Art Institute as the Trustees of his own 
benefaction. 

I will no longer detain you, but accept with 
profound and grateful appreciation, this 
admirable work, for the South Park Com- 
missioners, and through them for the people 
of Chicago. 



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