14 September, 2013

The Consensus

It was 1923, and the wildly famous Sarah Bernhardt was dead. Committees across the nation were set up by the  Orpheum Circuit to select a fitting memorial for the respected actress.  In Chicago, Edith Rockefeller McCormick sat on the board created to make the final decision with regard to a remembrance.

The choice was made at her 1000 Lake Shore Drive residence. The contest had been especially pushed in favor of young artists and students, and Fred P. Humphrey of Minneapolis was chosen by her commitee. His tablet entitled, "The Call"  was the piece that would captivate them and deem it their selection for the memorial.  

Edith was part of a very select group ennobled with this decision.  Her peers included; M.A. Barthelemy (French Consul in Chicago), Benjamin H. Marshall (architect), and the renowned sculptor Lorado Taft. Sitting to Edith's side is Mrs. John Alden Carpenter - a fellow patroness of the arts. 

Sarah Bernhardt's grave is located in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Although "The Call" was to be placed at the tomb, for one reason or another it never made it, and its whereabouts are unknown.  (The tablet shows an angel in ascent; "calling from this earth the great genius, while Drama and the World are kneeling grief stricken in the foreground.")

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