Sculpture Spotlight: Senator Roscoe Conkling

John Quincy Adams Ward‘s bronze statue of New York senator Roscoe Conkling (1829-1888) stands at the southeast entrance to Madison Square Park. Ward (1830-1910), a highly regarded 19th Century sculptor whose statues of statesmen grace a number of city parks, cast the work in 1893, at which date the sculpture was installed (about twenty feet away from its current location). Roscoe Conkling, a successful lawyer before and after his terms on the United States Senate (1867-1881), was a well-known park personality and lived in the Hoffman House, a residential hotel at Broadway and 25th Street. In the Senate, Conkling championed the Fourteenth Amendment and led New York’s Republican party. Conkling’s death befits the political and interpersonal melodrama of his life: during a now-notorious blizzard in March 1888, the lawyer brazenly marched three miles from his office on Wall Street to the New York Club on Broadway and 25th Street, where, suffering from exposure, he fell ill. He died six weeks later at his home.