Categories: Arts, Danbury

A Celebrated Artist and a Meaningful Space – Today in History: October 20

Anna Hyatt Huntington
Anna Hyatt Huntington, half-length portrait, facing left, sculpting – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection

By Diane Hassan for the CTPost.com

On October 20, 1963, Danbury citizens and dignitaries gathered at 43 Main Street for the dedication of Huntington Hall, a new and then-modern building that would be used “For Art, Service and Industry, in the Service of the People of Danbury.”

Documents depicting Anna Hyatt Huntington

Documents depicting Anna Hyatt Huntington and the Dedication of Huntington Hall – Danbury Museum and Historical Society

Miss Marian Anderson, Governor John Dempsey, State Representative William R. Ratchford, Mayor J. Thayer Bowman and members of the Danbury Scott-Fanton Museum & Historical Society, local Boy and Girl Scout Troops and The Community Chorus of The Danbury Music Centre participated in a program of activities that celebrated the opening of the new museum facility. The sculptures of Anna Hyatt Huntington made up the first exhibit slated for this new building and in whose honor it was named. But who was Anna Hyatt Huntington? There were many greater Danbury organizations that had benefited from the generosity of Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband, Archer M. Huntington, a noted philanthropist, poet, and art patron. Internationally-known sculptor Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 10, 1876. She was educated in private schools and at the Art Students League in New York. In 1912 she was one of only 12 American women earning over $50,000 a year. She received many honors and awards for her work including the Grand Cross of Alfonso XII of Spain and an honorary degree of doctor of fine arts from Syracuse University in 1929. In 1960, she was listed among the nation’s most outstanding women.

Israel Putnam sculpture

Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, Israel Putnam, 1967, bronze sculpture, Israel Putnam State Park State, Redding – Smithsonian American Art Museums, Art Inventories Catalog

The Sculptural Legacy of Anna Hyatt Huntington

Some of her most famous sculptures include Joan of Arc on Riverside Drive and Joan of Arc in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, both in New York City. Other works stand in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and in more than 200 museum, parks, and public places around the world. Our area is home to her sculptures including Sybil Ludington in Danbury Library Plaza and a bronze of Major General Israel Putnam at the entrance to Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding. The famed sculptor died in Redding on October 4, 1973, at the age of 97. Much has changed since the dedication ceremony of 1963, including the name of the institution. Recent renovations to Huntington Hall have allowed a steady stream of visitors to view the museum’s collections and conduct research in the archives. The facility also hosts meetings, gatherings, and community programs. This meaningful space has also welcomed thousands of Danbury school children over the years.

Diane Hassan is an independent researcher, genealogist, and writer currently working as a Research Specialist for the Danbury Museum & Historical Society. © CTPost.com. All rights reserved. This article is excerpted and originally appeared on Archive Archaeology

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Audio

“Oral History Interview with Anna Hyatt-Huntington, Circa 1964.” Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, 2013. Link.
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