The statue of
Joseph Baldwin that stands near the south end of the Quad was
erected in honor of our founder’s 100th birthday, October 31, 1927.
The total $6,000 cost of the project was funded by donations from
students, faculty & staff, alumni and the citizens of Kirksville.
It was the work of sculptor Leonard Crunelle and was cast by the
American Art Bronze Foundry, Chicago. Several members of the
Baldwin family were present at the unveiling and dedication on
October 20, 1927.
committee’s first choice for the sculptor was artist Lorado Taft,
who had recently lectured on campus. Although he was unable to
accept the commission, he made some helpful suggestions and
recommended his protégée, Leonard Crunelle, who agreed to create
from photographs a 7 foot bronze figure mounted on a 5 foot granite
The committee had
gotten a late start on the project and by the time the contract was
signed at the end of July, Crunelle had only three months to
complete the work before
He didn’t really expect to finish on time – and he didn’t. He
had sculpted the figure but was unable to get the bronze casting
done before the
scheduled dedication, so sent his son to Kirksville with a plaster
cast painted bronze to be used for the unveiling. The completed
statue was received and set in place the following April, in time
for Commencement and the beginning of a new campus tradition,
the laying of the wreath.
The site selected
for the statue represented a joining of the old and the new.
It was placed at the point where the southern end of the old bridge
across Normal Pond had been located, and was just north of the
east-west sidewalk between the two newest buildings, Pickler
Memorial Library and Kirk Auditorium. The specific spot was
selected by Lorado Taft who also suggested that the statue face
south to get the best effect from the sun’s light. Though it
was not the primary consideration, the fact that Baldwin was
standing near and facing the site of his old Normal School building
was an added sentimental bonus.