April 9, 2010

Lincoln Borglum

   James Lincoln de la Mothe Borglum, named after his father's favorite president and called by his middle name, was the first child of Gutzon Borglum and his second wife, Mary Montgomery Williams. During his youth, Lincoln accompanied his father to the Black Hills of South Dakota and was present when the site for the Mt. Rushmore monument was selected. Although he had originally planned to study engineering at the University of Virginia, Lincoln began work on the monument in 1933 at the age of 21 as an unpaid pointer. He quickly moved into a series of more important jobs: he was put on the payroll in 1934, promoted to assistant sculptor in 1937, and promoted to superintendent in 1938 with an annual salary of $4,800.

   Gutzon Borglum had nearly completed the 60-foot heads of the four presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and T. Roosevelt) when he died on March 6, 1941. Lincoln had to abandon his father's ambitious plans to carry the work down to include the torsos of the presidents and an entablature due to a lack of funding; he left the monument largely in the state of completion it had reached under his father's direction. He was appointed Mount Rushmore National Memorial's first superintendent and served from October 1, 1941 until May 15, 1944.

   Borglum continued to work as a sculptor after leaving Mt. Rushmore. He created several religious works for churches in Texas including the well-known shrine Our Lady of Loreto in Goliad. He also wrote three books, My Father's Mountain (1965), Borglum's Unfinished Dream (1976) and Mount Rushmore: The Story Behind the Scenery (1977), all about the sculpting of Mount Rushmore. Like many of the men who worked on the Rushmore project, Borglum's lungs were permanently scarred from breathing in granite dust associated with the blasting. He died in Corpus Christi, Texas on January 27, 1986 at the age of 73.

29° 25.206, -098° 28.406

City Cemetery #1
San Antonio

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