Speed, Weinman, Lincoln and Kentucky

On May 4, 1914, Mrs. Hattie B. Speed wrote a thank you card to Mr. Adolph A. Weinman on stationery from the Copley Square Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

My dear Mr. Weinman,

Your kind letter about the case of the medallion was received just before I left home, and I want to thank you very, very much for it. I shall consider the beautiful case as a gift from you, and shall doubly enjoy the association of you and Mr. Speed in this fine work of art. I am on my way, under the Doctor’s orders, to Poland Spring, for a month.

He wants to put me “out to pasture,” away from telephones, business, even friends, for a while. I hope this beautiful life among trees and out of doors will make me all right, for I have many things to do, which require energy and poise. My sister and niece will be with me, and that, with the lovely quiet, ought to make anybody well!  Just think, if I were at home, tomorrow, May 5th, we would have taken out the first spadeful of earth for the little new colored Hospital (“The Red Cross Hospital”) that I’ve been interested in so many years! But they refuse to do anything without “Miss Hattie” so I just have to get well quickly! You see?

Please distribute a great many kind regards among the “Big Four,” and for yourself, my best appreciation and thanks for this last lovely act of kindness.

Cordially yours,

Hattie B. Speed

Of course, for coins Adolf Weinman is better known for the Walking Liberty half dollar whose image is also on the American Silver Eagle. Mr. Weinman was also responsible for the Winged Liberty (Mercury) dime.

But, Mr. Weinman also did many statues in his day, one of which was the bronze of Abraham Lincoln in the Kentucky capitol. 

“Miss Hattie’s” husband, James Breckenridge Speed, made the statue possible and worked with Adolph Weinman as the sculptor.

The statue was unveiled on November 8, 1911 in Frankfurt, Kentucky with President Taft and Governor Wilson in attendance along with a vast number of people, some of whom wore the blue or the gray during the war and some of whom started their lives as slaves.

Mr. Speed was the nephew of Joshua Fry Speed who was a close friend to Abraham Lincoln.

But, further research is needed to identify the medallion to which “Miss Hattie” refers in her message. Is it one that Adolph Weinman made? Was it made specifically for Mr. and Mrs. Speed? Or, could it have been an Abraham Lincoln medallion?

For more information about the speech and presentation see:

President Taft Eulogizes Lincoln 

Unveiling of Statue at the Kentucky Capitol 

To see “Miss Hattie’s” thank you note, visit the Archives of American Art, frames 173 and 174 

To see pictures of the Weinman statue and other views of the Frankfort, Kentucky capitol:

Weinman statue in Frankfort, KY 

Capitol rotunda statuary 

For a brief history of the Speeds see:

James B. Speed

Hattie B. Speed

In the meantime, Mr. Weinman’s artistry lives on in his coin designs and in his statues. Many people continue to enjoy his many works of art today — many years after he completed them.