The Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee is actively accepting applications to take ownership of the J. Sterling Morton statue currently displayed in Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. All applications must be received by December 31, 2019. J. Sterling Morton was a Nebraskan Democrat who was Secretary of Agriculture under the Grover Cleveland administration and the founder of Arbor Day. The statue of Morton has been in the nation’s capital since 1937.
The Nebraska Legislature approved a measure to replace the Morton statue, projected to return to Nebraska sometime in the summer of 2020, with one of noted author and Nebraska Hall of Fame member Willa Cather. Willa Cather attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln for which she graduated with a Bachelor In English. She then wrote novels usually set in the Midwest such as in Nebraska where she grew up. Such examples of her work are O, Pioneer, My Antonia, and the Pulitzer Prize winning One Of Ours, a story about a Nebraska farmer during the time of World War 1.
Finalists will be identified and invited to present their proposals to the Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee. The committee, with assistance from the governor’s office, will make the final selection by the end of January 2020.
The J. Sterling Morton statue will reside with the selected entity at the proposed location. History Nebraska will transfer ownership of the statue via a deed of gift to the chosen organization.
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