Bust of Melville Fuller

The 19th century lawyer and jurist is represented by a bust – or sculpture that shows the subject’s head and shoulders. Fuller’s strong facial features are broadly, but sensitively modeled.
Photo ©: Patrick Pyszka, Samuel Avila, City of Chicago


Bust of Melville Fuller




William Ordway Partridge (1861-1930)


Fuller Park Field House


This bronze portrait bust of U.S. Chief Justice Melville Weston Fuller is a replica of a marble sculpture located in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. Born in Maine, Fuller (1833–1910) settled in Chicago in the 1850s. As the attorney for the South Park Board of Commissioners from 1882 to 1886, Fuller made several decisions that were instrumental to Chicago’s parks, particularly concerning the development of the lakefront. In 1891, three years after President Cleveland appointed Fuller as the eighth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Ordway Partridge (1861–1930), a highly regarded American artist, sculpted a marble portrait bust of Fuller for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. As Chief Justice, Fuller presided over the nearly unanimous ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which enshrined segregation into American law. Soon after Fuller’s death in 1910, the South Park Commissioners named a new small park in his honor. Through a fund established by South Park Board President Judge John Barton Payne, the commissioners had the replica of the Washington, D.C. bust made for Fuller Park in 1912. The bronze bust stands on a limestone pedestal located in an architectural niche in the courtyard of the Fuller Park field house. Formal dedication ceremonies took place in 1913.