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Introduction
1)
Title
Fenimore Cooper Memorial Monument
2)
Town, State
Scarsdale, NY
3)
ID #
7
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
December 01, 1998
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
November 09, 2011
6)
Site Worked Last
November 14, 2011
Description
Situated in Scarsdale, New York, the monument commemorates James Fenimore Cooper, a prolific 19th century American author, and his story called “The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground.” Cooper’s second work, some commentators favor it as America’s first novel. The story uses Scarsdale and its surrounding county, Westchester, as the setting for “Spy” and its tale of America’s War for Independence from Great Britain. This geographical area was known as the neutral ground; it stretched northward from New York City, then under General William Howell’s British control, to the most northern portions, roughly, of Westchester County. Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey, September 15, 1789 (the year Washington took office as first president). He resided with his family in Scarsdale for several years, this after he had married Susan Augusta De Lancey, great grand-daughter of Caleb Heathcote. He was a New York merchant as well as founder of both the Westchester borough and the royal manor at Scarsdale. Cooper published “Spy” in December, 1821. Like Washington Irving, of nearby Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow fame, he too wrote for a living. His writings were not only ample but also popular, and he ventured into and successfully crossed a wide variety of literary styles. He died September 14, 1851, in Cooperstown, New York (named after his father, William).

• The design of this memorial by sculptor Henri Crenier is that of a low-relief portrait in bronze. Its image of a peddler dominates the artist’s compelling scene -- “a pack on his back, suggesting the disguise in which Harvey Birch,” Cooper’s protagonist, the spy, “moved through British lines,” as characterized in the 1984 rededication program's bulletin. Over the peddler’s shoulder, George Washington peers in, and there are other low-relief design elements featured in the tableau. The design’s mood foreshadows the novel’s intrigue and narrative. The large stone to which the plaque is attached was taken from a property within the town of Scarsdale, whose English name means "dale of scars or rocks." Crenier himself lived for a number of years in Westchester County in a community, Mamaroneck, which borders Scarsdale; he also lived in nearby New York City. The founder for the monument performed its bronze work at its studio in Mount Vernon, a town in Westchester and also not far from Scarsdale. Notably, then, the work’s setting and its honoree as well as its artist and founder share a primary demographic – location. Crenier was born in Paris (December 17, 1873) and educated in his craft at its well-known Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There, he trained under Alexandre Falguiere, an honored French artist himself, who in his one U.S. work created the Lafayette monument (in 1891; here, ID #1707) situated in Lafayette Park, across from the White House. Crenier emigrated to the U.S. in 1902 and became a citizen in 1911. While his sculptures appear country-wide generally, other public monument works include two in Mamaroneck, one recognizing Columbus (ID# 633) and another recalling the Great War (ID# 1659). While Crenier lived for some time during the 1930s in the Shores Acres community of Mamaroneck, he died, October 1, 1948, in Manhattan, approaching his 74th birthday. The Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company, a well-known, and New York-based, bronze foundry made this work in its then-Mount Vernon, NY, workplace.

• The Crenier piece was situated initially on Tompkins Road, by its meeting point with Fenimore Road; the site of the work was very near the former Village Hall location on White Plains Post Road. Later, the monument was moved to its current position on the grounds of the Scarsdale Public Library, near its front entrance. The library is situated on the same White Plains Post Road, where Olmsted Road intersects.

• The Town Club of Scarsdale, predecessor of the Scarsdale Town and Village Civic Club, commissioned this monument by sculptor Crenier when it sought to recognize the centennial of “Spy’s” original publishing, December, 1821. The Club, in the person of historian, professor and writer Dixon Ryan Fox, presented the completed monument to the Village of Scarsdale, and Judge David Welch accepted; the Club guided the monument’s dedication, July 4, 1922. With the monument’s relocation to the Public Library site, a rededication observance was carried out, November 29, 1984. This public and civic ceremony included current and past town officials, leaders and history chroniclers along with Christian and Jewish clergy. An important and sustaining force behind the relocation of the monument was John Theis, described in the rededication materials as “an indefatigable worker and supporter of the preservation of history within…” Scarsdale.
Content
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1)
Person of letters/academia/science
2)
Caucasian
3)
War for Independence
Design
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1)
Sculpture, relief
2)
Stone/rock and metal
3)
Average (life-size)
4)
Designers
4.1)
Designer 1
Artist/Artistic Group: Crenier, Henri
5)
Fabricators/Builders
Known
5.1)
Fabricator/Builder 1
Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company 
5.2)
Fabricator City
Mount Vernon 
5.3)
Fabricator State
NY 
5.4)
Fabricator Country
United States 
Setting
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1)
Park/Garden/Lawn/Field
4)
Satisfactory
Themes
Not available in ABBREVIATED view
Demography
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1)
Town/City
Scarsdale
2)
County
Westchester
3)
District
Intentionally Blank
4)
State
NY
5)
Zip
10583
6)
Man-made
7)
7.1)
Auxiliary support group
7.2)
Government, Local
8)
8.1)
Revolution: War/Governance | 1774-1788
8.2)
Washington to Lincoln|1789-1865
Comments and Notes
TITLE: Alternates – James Fenimore Cooper Memorial; Cooper Memorial
DESIGN(1): Founder’s mark is located in the lower right-hand corner of the plaque, facing it.
DESIGN(2): Crenier –Ecole master full name: Jean Alexandre Joseph Falguiere (1831-1900); associate (and former pupil) with him on the Lafayette monument, in D.C: Marius Jean Antonin Mercie (1845-1916).
DESIGN(3):The work, some three feet by four feet is mounted to a large, five-and-one-half ton boulder. It originally weighed 10 tons; however, it was halved when moved from one site to the next, both to ease with transport and to fit on the new site, at the Scarsdale Public Library.
SETTING: Start Date – Assumed to be 1922 as the novel it commemorates was published in December, 1921.
SOURCE(1): Kathleen Fleming, “The rocky history behind a celebrity in Scarsdale,” Gannett Westchester, circa November 30, 1984 (attached and undated, to 1984 rededication celebration program (see below)); Donald A. Ringe, "Cooper, James Fenimore," http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-00354.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000, retrieved November 4, 2011.
SOURCE (2): “Henry Crenier, 74, Sculptor, is Dead,” The New York Times, October 3, 1948; “Henry Crenier,” Ask/ART website, retrieved November 4, 2011; “Henry Crenier,” Mantle Fielding’s, p. 200 (1983 ed.); “History of Scarsdale,” from the town’s website, above; "Quarterly Bulletin of the Westchester County Historical Society (The)," April, 1930. Vol. 6, No. 2, cover and p. 48; Wikipedia, “Alexandre Falguiere,” retrieved November 4, 2011; “Henri Crenier,” retrieved April 28, 2008; “James Fenimore Cooper,” retrieved November 30, 2008.
SITE MAINTENANCE: Community Group – Scarsdale Public Library, Scarsdale, New York
SPONSOR: Auxiliary Support Group -- Town and Village Civic Club (formerly the Town Club of Scarsdale)
COMMENT: “Rededication Ceremony” program, November 29. 1984, in Scarsdale Public Library, Historical Papers, Reference section (Includes the Kathleen Fleming Gannett article, cited above. Also, the biographical and monument history pages of the program may have been written by Richard C. Lederer, town historian and program participant.)



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