The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

April

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

heroes of American nationalism into Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. As he
traveled the state to raise funds for his trail drivers, the outspoken artist, with a
well-honed interest in urban design, poured forth ideas for embellishing Texas's
drab towns so that they would indeed look like cities. Even as he struggled with
Mount Rushmore during the 1930s, Borglum lobbied at length but in vain for
Public Works Administration funds to build his majestic seawall at Corpus
Christi, which would have featured a thirty-two-foot bronze Christ in the bay and
would have connected to a boulevard to the Rio Grande, lined with statues com-
memorating the Euro-American conquest of Texas.
With his penchant for plans that outran his resources and for entangling him-
self in feuds among patrons, Borglum did his share to ensure that his Texas
plans did not come to fruition. Even the Trail Drivers Monument, when finally cast
and placed in front of Pioneer Hall in Brackenridge Park after the artist's death
in 1941, ended up an eight-foot miniature of the envisioned group of life-sized
figures. Nevertheless, Borglum's story remained intertwined with South Texas,
especially after his sculptor son, Lincoln Borglum, who inherited the task of fin-
ishing Mount Rushmore, settled in Beeville, where he became mentor to the
region's "Western" artists.
Lincoln's daughter, Robin Borglum Carter of Corpus Christi, has spent years
sorting through dozens of cartons of her grandfather's plans, photographs, man-
uscripts, and correspondence, where one finds Borglum's copious opinions in
his vivid language. In this lucid, attracive volume, Carter understandably por-
trays her grandfather as the family remembers him. She does not brush over the
angry streak that led this Idaho native, born in 1867 to the second wife in a plur-
al marriage among Danish Mormon settlers, to flirt in middle age with the Ku
Klux Klan and the politics of resentment. She reviews a complex personal life,
which included a failed and then a successful marriage to women as remarkable
as their husband. Still, Carter stresses Borglum as a driven, fertile artist, whose
initial success came as a painter of Western scenes in Paris and London and who
even before Mount Rushmore had won fame as a sculptor for his work on New
York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as a plethora of works based
upon American history and lore. With subjects that ranged from John Peter
Atgeld, William Jennings Bryan, Tom Paine, and Sacco and Vanzetti, to
Lincolns, Union generals, and heroes of the Lost Cause, Borglum created for his
uneasily urban, pluralist country a narrative in bronze and stone of the image
that the early-twentieth-century United States wished to retain of itself--adven-
turous, patriotic, humane, and populist.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi ALAN LEssoFF
Soldier and Scholar: Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve and the Civil War. By Ward W. Briggs
Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of North Virginia, 1998. Pp. xv+430.
Illustrations, abbreviations, introduction, select credits, editorial note,
photo credits, index. ISBN 0-8139-1743-3. $47.50, cloth.)
Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924) was in the words of Ward W. Briggs
Jr., "our supreme classical scholar" (p. 9). Although his father was a native of
Connecticut, Gildersleeve proclaimed, "I was a Charlestonian first, Carolinian

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed July 25, 2014.