The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 220
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
adornments for the World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
That was followed by two periods of study in Paris and two major collabo-
rative projects in Chicago and New York with America's master sculptor,
For the first fifteen years of the twentieth century Proctor was recog-
nized as one of America's premier animaliersculptors, producing bronzes
and marbles of animals for patrons up and down the East Coast. In the
mid-teens he turned to frontier subjects, and within five years claimed the
attention of major western municipalities including Denver, Portland,
and Kansas City with monuments of frontier heroes.
Over the last productive years of Proctor's artistic career, from the ear-
ly 1930os to the mid-194os, Texas patrons would provide the primary spon-
sorship for his art. Sometimes profoundly committed but just as often
fickle and feckless, they helped shape his art and his reputation, keeping
his career buoyant while at the same time exasperating him professional-
ly and personally to the point of physical and emotional exhaustion. Al-
though those Texans offered promise to an aging master, who in his sev-
enth decade produced two of his life's finest achievements, they also
squeezed his self-confidence to a point of near stagnation and, in one in-
stance, almost ruined him financially.
The first of his great Texas monuments resulted from a letter Proctor
received in 1931 from Mrs. Russell V. (Elizabeth) Rogers, representing
the Dallas branch of the Southern Memorial Association. Proctor at the
time was happily ensconced in his home and studio in Wilton, Connecti-
cut. He found Mrs. Rogers's invitation sufficiently compelling to turn his
attention toward Texas.
In 1963 when the Dallas Herald ran a feature article on her, Elizabeth
Rogers was in her late eighties and was without doubt one of the reigning
doyennes of the city's many club women.' As second president of the Dal-
las Southern Memorial Association, a women's organization that had its
beginnings as the Confederate Southern Memorial Association in 1922,
she had spearheaded in the mid-193os one of the city's most ambitious
beautification projects. This involved a three-part plan to change the
name of Dallas's serene Oak Lawn Park to Lee Park in memory of the
Confederate hero Gen. Robert E. Lee, to construct on the park grounds
a replica of his Arlington mansion, and to commission a sculptor of na-
tional reputation to create a bronze monument to Lee to stand in the
park. By the time she stepped down as chairman of the association's Lee
' Mildred Young, "Dallasite Perpetuates Tradition of Old South," Dallas Herald, June 14, 1963.
According to Association records, Ehzabeth Rogers died in 1967 at age g91. I am grateful to the As-
sociation Historian, Mrs. Dewey D. Johnston, for sharing this and many other insights about the
Lee Monument with me.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/264/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.