Young Lincoln

This monumental bronze shows Lincoln as a young man, perhaps in his late teens. He is seated on a tree stump, barefoot, looking up from the book he holds in his hands resting on his lap.
Photo ©: Jyoti Srivastava


Young Lincoln


1951, installed 1997


Charles Keck (1875-1951)


Senn Park


Although Chicago had several sculptures of Lincoln, a monumental thirteen-foot depiction of him as a young man barefoot and seated on a tree stump was donated to the City of Chicago by the estate of the New York City based sculptor Charles Keck. The decision was to locate it in the Civil War museum that was part of the Grand Army of the Republic rooms at the main Chicago Public Library – now the Chicago Cultural Center. Keck was well known as a sculptor of public monuments and architectural detailing, with works placed all over the country. Much of his expertise in creating large-scale public art was gained during the five years he spent as an assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Highly prolific in public sculpture, his works ranged from an iconic monument to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee, to a similarly defining rendering of political boss Huey Long in Baton Rouge. When the Chicago Public Library and the Grand Army of the Republic museum collection was relocated to the Harold Washington Library in 1992, a new home was sought for the sculpture. Being bronze and weighing over three thousand pounds it was best suited for outdoor display. A new home was found in a newly-created park in the Edgewater community behind Senn High School. It was long part of neighborhood lore that Lincoln once gave a speech at a stagecoach post-house near the site, but subsequent research has made this story seem unlikely.