Known as one of America’s most influential poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry mastered rhyme and meter to tell stories of the country’s past and expansive landscape. After receiving a memorial at Westminster Abbey in England, the Longfellow Memorial Association rallied to fund a statue to the poet in the United States, as one had not been completed yet within the country. Longfellow’s seated figure with a book resting in his lap memorializes the poet’s writing process.
Designed by William Couper and completed in 1909, the Longfellow Memorial calls attention to the works he wrote, which helped solidify an American identity in literature and poetry. Longfellow often focused on themes of the American landscape and its people, with some of his most famous works including “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha.” The rhyme schemes he used made his works easier to read and recite, catering the poetry to a wider audience. As the first commemorative statue to a literary figure, the Longfellow Memorial further expanded memorialization beyond military and political leaders.
DC Inventory: February 22, 2007
National Register: October 11, 2007