Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


John Greenleaf Whittier Monument

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Institution Name: Whittier College
Original/Historic Place Name: John Greenleaf Whittier Monument
Location on Campus: on Lower Quad (lawn area at the west side of campus)
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1911original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Other characteristics:
A monument to the poet for whom the college and town of Whittier were both named.
Materials: brick; spherical light globe (formerly); bronze plaque with a likeness of the poet
1911-present (2007)memorial site

Significance: culture, education, history, landscape, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

John Greenleaf Whittier was the best-selling versifier of his day. Whittier, a Quaker and staunch Abolitionist in the pre-Civil War period, was instrumental in helping to turn American public opinion against slavery. To give a new town in the "wild West" his name and open a college there in the 1880s implied that this community would be a bulwark against the chaos and mayhem of the old frontier. Although developers deeded Whittier a lot in the new subdivision and installed a rose garden adjacent, the aged poet never visited his namesake city. But the monument built with public subscriptions solicited by the local newspaper bears his likeness and a poem he sent to one of the founders in the early days:

Dear town, for whom the flowers are born,
Stars shine, and happy songbirds sing,
What can my evening give to morn,
My winter to thy spring?

A life not void of pure intent,
With small desert of praise or blame;
The love I felt, the good I meant,
I leave thee with my name.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Arnold, Benjamin F. History of Whittier. Whittier, CA: Western Print Corporation, 1933.

Carter, Coila. "History of Whittier." B. A. thesis, Whittier College, 1908.

Cooper, Charles W. Whittier: Independent College in California. Los Angeles, CA: Ward Ritchie Press, 1967.

Cooper, Charles W. The A. Wardman Story. Whittier, CA: Whittier College, 1961.

Elliott, Charles, Jr. Whittier College: The First Century on the Poet Campus, a Pictorial Remembrance. Redondo Beach, CA: Legends Press, 1986.

Feeler, William Henry. History of Whittier College. M. A. thesis, University of Southern California, 1919.

Harris, Herbert Eugene. The Quaker and the West: The First Sixty Years of Whittier College. [s.l.]: Whittier College, 1948.

Pearce, Phyllis M., Claire G. Radford, and Mary Ann Rummel. Founders and Friends. Whittier, CA: Rio Hondo College Community Services, 1977.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library
Other: Whittier Daily News Archives

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