On this day in 1900, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans was completed on the campus of New York University. Long before any other halls of fame were established in the United States, Dr. Henry Mitchell MacCracken, Chancellor of New York University, envisioned a place that would honor those Americans who had a significant impact on American history.
Today the Hall of Fame for Great Americans still stands. In 1973, New York University sold the campus, so today it is on the grounds of Bronx Community College. It features a 630-foot open-air colonnade with bronze portrait busts of the following 98 Americans:
John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Jane Addams, Louis Agassiz, Susan B. Anthony, John James Audubon, George Bancroft, Clara Barton, Henry Ward Beecher, Alexander Graham Bell, Daniel Boone, Edwin Booth, Louis Brandeis, Phillips Brooks, William Cullen Bryant, Luther Burbank, Andrew Carnegie, George Washington Carver, William Ellery Channing, Rufus Choate, Henry Clay, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Grover Cleveland, James Fenimore Cooper, Peter Cooper, Charlotte Saunders Cushman, James Buchanan Eads, Thomas Alva Edison, Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, David Glasgow Farragut, Stephen Collins Foster, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Fulton, Josiah Willard Gibbs, William Crawford Gorgas, Ulysses Simpson Grant, Asa Gray, Alexander Hamilton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Joseph Henry, Patrick Henry, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Mark Hopkins, Elias Howe, Washington Irving, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, James Kent, Sidney Lanier, Robert Edward Lee, Abraham Lincoln,Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Mary Lyon, Edward Alexander MacDowell, James Madison, Horace Mann, John Marshall, Matthew Fontaine Maury,Albert Abraham Michelson, Maria Mitchell, James Monroe, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, William Thomas Green Morton, John Lothrop Motley, Simon Newcomb,Thomas Paine, Alice Freeman Palmer, Francis Parkman, George Peabody, William Penn, Edgar Allan Poe, Walter Reed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, William Tecumseh Sherman, John Philip Sousa, Joseph Story, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gilbert Charles Stuart, Sylvanus Thayer, Henry David Thoreau, Lillian D. Wald, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, Daniel Webster, George Westinghouse, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Walt Whitman, Eli Whitney, John Greenleaf Whittier, Emma Willard, Frances Elizabeth Willard, Roger Williams, Woodrow Wilson, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright
The categories for members of the Hall of Fame include authors, educators, architects, inventors, military leaders, judges, theologians, philanthropists, humanitarians, scientists, artists, musicians, actors, and explorers. The Colonnade was originally designed to accommodate 102 busts, so there is room for four more. To be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, a candidate must be a native-born or naturalized citizen of the United States and must have been dead for 25 years.
Today’s Challenge: Hometown Hero
What American deserves a statue in your town? What makes this individual so influential and so deserving of being immortalized with a statue? Make the case for the individual you would select to be honored with a new statue or bust to be erected in a prominent location in your town. What makes this person deserving, and how might honoring the individual influence citizens in both the present and future? (Common Core 1 – Argument)
Quotation of the Day: American was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. -President Harry Truman