Artist Name

birth1/28/1858 in West Concord, VTPicture of Adams
death5/21/1945 in New York City, NY
parents
education
awards

Herbert Adams was born in West Concord, Vermont. In 1863, at the age of five, he moved to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, so his father could take a job at the Putnam Machine Co. His family purchased a home on 26 Chestnut Street. He attended the Fitchburg public schools, the Academy and was influenced by Fitchburg's first Art teacher, Louise Haskell, to pursue a career in Art. He attended Mass Normal School in Boston and got teaching certificate. Herbert Adams taught Art in the Fitchburg Public schools from 1878 to 1882, but left Fitchburg for Paris in 1885 to pursue his interest in sculpture. He was educated at the Massachusetts Normal Art School enrolling in 1877 at 18 years of age, and in 1885-1890 he was a pupil of Antonin Mercie Paris.

In 1889 Rodney Wallace, James Phillips, and Henry Willis donated money for an ornamental fountain to grace the Upper Common of Fitchburg, MA and the City accepted the idea. This 26 foot in diameter granite and bronze fountain depicting two playful boys and a family of turtles was the first public commission awarded to Adams and was created in his Paris studio. This was the first, large sculpture, done in the “lost-wax” process, brought to America. During Adams lifetime he completed over 200 major public works of art, and is considered to be one of the most important American sculptors.

In 1890-1898 he was an instructor in the art school of Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1898, and in 1906 was elected vice-president of the National Academy of Design, New York. Adams later served as President from 1917-1920. During this time, he was chosen to design a commemorative medal of Joseph Hodges Choate for the American Numismatic Society. In sculpture, he experimented successfully with some polychrome busts and tinted marbles, notably in the Rabbi's Daughter (1894), and a portrait of the actress Julia Marlowe (1898). He was at his best in his portrait busts of women, the best example being the study, completed in 1887, of Miss Adeline Pond, whom he later married.

He was a member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1915 to 1920, serving as vice chairman from 1918 to 1920. Adams died in New York City in 1945. Works by Adams are held by numerous American museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

You can click medals to switch between obverse and reverse sides and drag to see different variants (if there are any).

Joseph Hodges Choate1922
ANS-1922.1
Bronze
ANS-1922.2
Silver

This medal was co-issued by the Century Association and the American Numismatic Society (ANS) in 1922. It was the 44th medal issued by the ANS. It was also the first in a series of medals commemorating men who distinguished themselves in public service. The obverse bears bust of Choate left. Around left edge, CHOATE; at lower right, signed H. A.

The reverse bears oil lamp of Century Association above, surrounded by C - A; circled ANS oak leaves below; laurels around. In center field, JOSEPH HODGES CHOATE / 1832 - 1917 / PATRIOT / AMBASSADOR / JURIST / ORATOR

Joseph Hodges Choate, born in Salem, Massachusetts, was a famous lawyer who litigated many of the most prominent cases in the late 19th century. He allied himself with the Republican Party and was a frequent campaign orator. In 1894 he was president of the New York State constitutional convention. In 1899 he was appointed ambassador to England by President McKinley and held that position until 1905. When World War I broke out he became a fervent supporter of the Allied cause. His death in 1917 was hastened by the physical strain of supporting the British and French commissions in New York.

Herbert Adams was a personal friend of Joseph Choate.

The medal measures 64mm (2.5in) in diameter. The Medallic Art Company of New York struck 238 pieces in bronze and 98 in silver. Originally the bronze pieces were available for $5 and the silver pieces for $10.

References: Baxter 224, Marqusee 2

Boy Fishing 1934
SOM-9.1
Golden bronze with red-brown patina
SOM-9.3
Silver
SOM-9.4
Golden bronze with very light tan patina

This medal was chosen as the 9th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series. The obverse bears a nude boy with a fishing rod who just caught a little fish and the the first half of an Oliver Wendell Holmes quotation: "OH WHAT ARE THE PRIZES WE PERISH TO WIN." The reverse bears a jumping trout with the second half of the quote: "TO THE FIRST LITTLE SHINER WE CAUGHT WITH A PIN."

In the artists own words:

"Beneath these whimsical words of the poet runs a vein of seriousness. I have not been unmindful of that undercurrent. A boy fishing is a common sight. But a boy's hopes, aspirations, struggles - these are the things that build the world's epics."

The medal measures 73mm in diameter and was produced by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported mintage is 1,207 pieces in bronze and 100 in silver.

References: Marqusee 3

SOM-9.1
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with red-brown patina
THE SOCIETY / OF MEDALISTS / NINTH ISSUE
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.
SOM-9.2
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with very light tan patina
THE SOCIETY / OF MEDALISTS / NINTH ISSUE
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y.-BRONZE
SOM-9.3
Silver
73.0mm (2.87in)
THE SOCIETY OF MEDALISTS NINTH ISSUE - ONE OF LIMITED ISSUE OF 700
MEDALLIC ART CO.N.Y. - .999+ PURE SILVER
SOM-9.4
Bronze
73.0mm (2.87in)
Golden bronze with very light tan patina
SOM-9 Romance Brochure #1 SOM-9 Romance Brochure #2 SOM-9 Romance Brochure #3 SOM-9 Romance Brochure #4

  • Boys and Turtles

    Boys and Turtles (1888)

    In 1889 Rodney Wallace, James Phillips, and Henry Willis donated money for an ornamental fountain to grace the Upper Common of Fitchburg, MA and the City accepted the idea. Herbert Adams created the sculptures for the fountain while he lived and worked in Paris.

    In the center of a large granite basin stands a circular bronze sculpture depicting two nude boys. One boy stands and the other crouches behind him. Water sprays on the boys from the mouths of three large turtles located in the fountain basin.

    The original image can be found here.

Contact me if you have links that might merit inclusion on this page.

Books & Articles

American Art Medals, 1909-1995 by David Thomason Alexander
David T. Alexander's book can be purchased at the above link. Highly recommended for anyone interested in SOM. I am deeply indebted to him for all the information I used to document the SOM medals on this site.

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