Samuel Eliot Morison - Commonwealth Avenue Mall - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 42° 21.071 W 071° 04.848
19T E 328620 N 4690865
Two quotes from Sailor and Historian, Samuel Eliot Morison, etched in rocks flanking his statue, which stands in the center pathway of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, located in the Back Bay section of Boston, Massachusetts.
Waymark Code: WMJ2QZ
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 09/13/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 4

This bronze statue of Samuel Eliot Morison depicts him sitting atop a large unsculpted granite boulder. Both legs are over the edge of the boulder, however, the left leg extends lower as the upper half lays flat on the rock, while the right leg is slightly raised. Both feet are held against the rock. He is wearing slacks, dress shoes, a buttoned shirt under a larger seafaring type jacket. On his head he wears a ball cap, with a symbol on the front, but I couldn't make out the symbol. He holds his right hand across his upper right leg, holding a pair of binoculars in front of him. His left hand rests on a pair of books at his side. He is clean shaven and is looking straight ahead. As mentioned previously, the plinth is a large granite boulder that gives a more natural look, as if he is sitting atop a rock outcrop along the shoreline.

On each side of the large granite boulder are two large rocks - but much smaller in comparison to the granite boulder. Etched into each rock is a quote from Samuel Eliot Morison, which read:





"Dressed in a windbreaker and simple cap and seated casually upon a rock, this bronze figure looks almost indistinguishable from any tourist visiting the Boston shore on a cloudy weekend. In fact, it is the likeness of Harvard professor Samuel Eliot Morison, the foremost American naval historian of the twentieth century. Morison won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Christopher Columbus and personally sailed several of the routes Columbus is believed to have followed. However, Morison also evoked controversy by authoring a textbook with insensitive comments about slavery. With her unpretentious depiction, sculptor Penelope Jencks downplays Morison’s roles as professor and provocateur and emphasizes his passion for the sea." SOURCE

The large boulder that this statue sits on is etched with the following:


1887 - 1976


"Samuel Eliot Morison, (born July 9, 1887, Boston, Mass., U.S.—died May 15, 1976, Boston), American biographer and historian who re-created in vivid prose notable maritime stories of modern history. Combining a gift for narrative with meticulous scholarship, he led the reader back into history to relive the adventures of such figures as Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake. He also chronicled the exploits of the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Morison was educated at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., and at Harvard University and, after further study abroad, returned to teach at Harvard for 40 years. Taking the view that the art of writing history had been all but lost by American writers, Morison tried to revive it with a technique that combined experience, observation, and research. To give authenticity to his writing, Morison undertook numerous voyages himself, sailed the ocean routes followed by Columbus, and during wartime served on 12 ships as a commissioned officer in the Naval Reserve. By the time of his retirement from the navy in 1951, he had reached the rank of rear admiral.

Morison’s writings include: Maritime History of Massachusetts (1921); Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942), a biography of Columbus for which Morison was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; John Paul Jones (1959), which also received a Pulitzer; The Oxford History of the American People (1965); the monumental History of U.S. Naval Operations in World War II, 15 vol. (1947–62); The Life of Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1967); and The European Discovery of America, The Northern Voyages (1971)." SOURCE

"Samuel Eliot Morison, Rear Admiral, United States Naval Reserve (July 9, 1887 – May 15, 1976) was an American historian noted for his works of maritime history that were both authoritative and highly readable. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912, and taught history at the university for 40 years. He won Pulitzer Prizes for Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942), a biography of Christopher Columbus, and John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography (1959). In 1942, he was commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to write a history of United States naval operations in World War II, which was published in 15 volumes between 1947 and 1962. He retired from the navy in 1951 as a rear admiral. Morison wrote the popular Oxford History of the American People (1965), and co-authored the classic textbook The Growth of the American Republic (1930) with Henry Steele Commager. Over the course of his distinguished career, Morison received eleven honorary doctoral degrees, including degrees from Harvard University (1936), Columbia University (1942), Yale University (1949), and the University of Oxford (1951). Morison also garnered numerous literary prizes, military honors, and national awards from both foreign countries and the United States, including two Pulitzer Prizes, two Bancroft Prizes, the Balzan Prize, the Legion of Merit, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom." SOURCE

Commonwealth Avenue Mall, near Exeter Street

Website: [Web Link]

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