Edmonia Lewis Sculptures

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Did you know that the California Room has three marble sculptures created by the 19th century artist, Edmonia Lewis? Edmonia Lewis was African-American and Chippewa Indian, and was a free spirit who lived for a time in San José. These sculptures were created in Rome and brought to the Bay Area, where they were purchased on behalf of the new San José Library Association (a fee-based library that predates the public library by a few years) in 1873. These beautiful marble sculptures have been owned by the library for more than 125 years! Here is more information about Edmonia Lewis and her sculptures. Two of the pieces are a pair, representing children "Awake" and "Asleep." The third is one of Abraham Lincoln. They are available to view in the California Room Tuesday-Saturday, 1-6.

Posted by Lauren Miranda ... on Oct 22, 2010 | Comments: 2 |

Comments from our readers...

Edmonia Lewis sculptures

I believe that Edmonia Lewis only *visited* San Jose, not lived here. Check the books and other info about her at the library.

Edmonia's tenure in SJ

Hi, thanks for your comment. She was here in San Jose for 3 months between September and December of 1873, which is kind of a really long visit AND a very short time that she lived here... so maybe we're both right! :) She stayed in a boarding house during that time. It was worth her while, as she sold the 3 sculptures that we have here in the California Room at that time.