Chesterwood Launches New Daniel Chester French Biography with Lecture and Book Signing

Stockbridge, Mass., Feb. 11, 2019 – Chesterwood will present a lecture by acclaimed author Harold Holzer to mark the official launch of his newly released biography “Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French” on Tuesday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Mass., with a reception and book signing to follow. The event will be held in the McConnell Theater at the Daniel Arts Center at Simon’s Rock. Tickets are $25 ($20 for members of Chesterwood) and books will be available for sale at the event. To purchase advance tickets, go to or call 413-298-2034.

“Monument Man” explores for the first time the long life and dramatic artistic career of pre-eminent American sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose Lincoln Memorial sculpture is arguably the nation’s most iconic statue. The lavishly illustrated cradle-to-grave biography is published by Princeton Architectural Press, Hudson, NY. Holzer is a Lincoln scholar and prizewinning author of numerous books on Civil War–era art and history, including “Lincoln and the Power of the Press”(winner of the Lincoln Prize), “The Lincoln Image” and “Lincoln at Cooper Union”. He appears frequently on radio and television, including on C-SPAN and CNN, and in Lincoln and Civil War documentaries for the BBC, NHK, and the History Channel. Formerly senior vice president for public affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Foundation, he currently serves as director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York. In 2008, Holzer was awarded the National Humanities Medal.

“Chesterwood invited Harold Holzer to write this definitive biography on Daniel Chester French in celebration of our 50th anniversary as a Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, not only because of the author’s excellent command of the written word and keen knowledge of the time period in which French lived and worked, but also to answer the question I’m asked on a regular basis, ‘How did he create the Lincoln Memorial?’,” said Executive Director Donna Hassler.

“Monument Man” has received noticeable advance praise from “Alexander Hamilton” author Ron Chernow. “As one of the foremost living authorities on Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer has long straddled the crossroads of history and art with his own inimitable brand of scholarship. Not surprisingly, in this grandly illustrated and beautifully written biography, he proves to be the ideal guide to the life of Daniel Chester French, who transmuted Abraham Lincoln and other historical figures into monumental sculptures of surpassing beauty, poetry, and inspiration,” Chernow said. “This book will surely rank as the authoritative life of a man whose creations in stone and bronze have become inseparable parts of our historical memory.”

“Monument Man” was specially commissioned by Chesterwood/National Trust for Historic Preservation. Holzer’s lecture and book signing is co-sponsored by Chesterwood and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. 

About Chesterwood

Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is the former summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-22) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Chesterwood is notably one of the earliest venues in the United States to showcase large-scale works in an outdoor setting. Since 1978, close to 600 emerging and established artists’ works have been exhibited at Chesterwood. Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, MA, the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. For more information, visit