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Evelyn Beatrice Longman (AKAEvelyn Beatrice Longman Batchelder)

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Evelyn Beatrice Longman
Olivet College, Chicago Art Institute Sculptor
American, (11/21/1874–3/10/1954)
Mary Evelyn Beatrice Longman (Batchelder), best known by the name Evelyn, was an American sculptor best known for her large-scale monumental sculpture.

She was born in 1874 in Winchester, Ohio outisde of Cincinnati, the fifth of six children to musician and painter Edwin Henry Longman and his wife Clara Delitia Adam. Evelyn's early life was disrupted by the death of her mother when she was five years old. Over the following years, she and her siblings moved between homes of various Ontario family members and their father and step-mother's home in Chicago. Evelyn insisted upon returning to Chicago at age fourteen, where she worked in a general store and briefly attended classes at the Art Institute. Inspired by the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, she expressed a desire to become an artist and enrolled in painting and drawing classes at Olivet college in Michigan. She practiced sculpture independently, developing a portfolio that gained her admission to the sculpture department of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1898. She graduated with the highest honors, completing the four-year program in only two years.

In 1900, Longman moved to New York where she worked assisting Isidore Konti, Hermon Atkins MacNeil, and Daniel Chester French (notable as his first female assistant). French became an important resource and friend who would often recommend her for comissions. She worked on some of his major projects, including a variety of ornaments (and by some accounts, the hands) of the Lincoln Memorial.

She completed her first public commission Victory for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which was displayed prominently on top of Festival Hall. This publicity earned her a favorable reputation as a monumental sculptor, earning herself the distinction as the first American female sculptor to be known for such works. Her sculptures primarily depicted idealized images of civic duty adn academia, combining modern elements with classical. For example, one of her best-known scuptures, The Genius of Electricity (AKA Electricity, Spirit of Communication, or Golden Boy) (1914-1916), once displayed at the top of the Western Union Company's New York skyscraper, represents a classically Herculean figure with the detail of a contemporary hairstyle.

In 1906, she became one of the only six female members of the National Sculpture society, alongside Mary Abastenia St. Leger Eberle, Enid Yandell, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Janet Scudder, and Anna Hyatt. In 1919, she became the first woman to receive a full membership to the National Academy of Design.

In 1909, she was awarded a commission for a set of bronze doors (Great Bronze Memorial) for the Annapolis Naval Academy. Despite hesitance to hrie a woman, the benefactor insisted on her design and even funded a research trip to Italy. Commissions for other monumental works followed, including doors for the Horsford Library at Wellesley College (1911) and the Senator William Boyd Allison monument in Des Moines (1912-1914), as well as collaborations with architect Henry Bacon; Fountain of Ceres and the Illinois Centennial Monument for Logan Square, Chicago (1918).

In 1920, Longman married Loomis Institute boarding school headmaster Nathaniel Horton Batchelder. The two met when Batchelder hired Longman to create a memorial to his late wife. In addition to a Gramercy Park, New York studio, she kept a studio on the campus of Loomis, completing a total of fourteen sculptures for the school grounds.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Longman continued to complete large-scale comissions including works for the Connecticut State Capitol, the Spanish-American War Memorial for Bushnell Park, a marble fountain for the lobby of the Hencksher Museum of Art, a large frieze of Thomas Edison (1926), Victory of Mercy (1945-1948) for the Loomis Institute, and a large head of Edison for the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. (1952). She is the only sculptor for whom Edison is known to have set.

Upon her husband's retirement, Longman moved her studio to Cape Cod, where she died in 1954.

She was the first woman sculptor elected to full membership in the National Academy of Design.

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