Historical Letters and Legislation

Image of the letter sent by Doane Robinson to Gutzon Borglum proposing a mountain carving in South Dakota.
Image of the letter sent by Doane Robinson to Gutzon Borglum proposing a mountain carving in South Dakota.

The Proposal

South Dakota State Historian, Doane Robinson, first contacted Sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1924 to talk over the idea of a mountain carving in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The text of his letter is below:

State of South Dakota
Department of History
Administers State Library, Census, Vital Statistics, Legislative Reference, Historical Society.
Pierre
Doane Robinson, Sec'y. & Supt.
August 29, 1924

Mr Gutson Borglum,
Stone Mountain, Georgia

Dear Mr. Borglum:

In the vicinity of Harney Peak, in the Black Hills of South Dakota are opportunities for heroic sculpture of unusual character. Would it be possible for you to design and supervise a massive sculpture there. The proposal has not passed beyond the mere suggestion, but if it be possible for you to undertake the matter I feel quite sure we could arrange to finance such an enterprise. I should be glad to hear from you at your convenience.

Faithfully,
Doane Robinson, Supt.

 
Image of Gutzon Borglum's telegram reply to Doane Robinson's letter.
Image of Gutzon Borglum's telegram reply to Doane Robinson's letter.

Gutzon Borglum's Response

Gutzon Borglum replied to Doane Robinson's letter by telegram on August 28, 1924. The text of the telegram is below:

Western Union Telegram
Received at 39PAX 39BLUE
Stamford Conn 129P Aug 28 1924

Doane Robinson
Department of History
Pierre SDak

Your letter forwarded to me from Stone Mountain. Very much interested in your proposal, great scheme you have; hold to it; the North will welcome it. Am two years ahead in my southern work can get to Black Hills during September.

 
Image of H. R. 11726, the bill authorizing the creation of a national memorial at Mount Rushmore.
Image of H. R. 11726, the bill authorizing the creation of a national memorial at Mount Rushmore.

United States House of Representatives Bill 11726

Union Calendar No. 571
H. R. 11726
68th Congress, 2d Session

[Report No. 1435]

In the House of Representatives

January 17, 1925

Mr. Williamson introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Public Lands and ordered to be printed.

February 10, 1925

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, and ordered to be printed.

A BILL

To authorize the creation of a national memorial in the Harney National Forest

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Mount Harney Memorial Association hereafter to be created by the Legislature of South Dakota is hereby authorized to carve a memorial in heroic figures commemorative of our national history and progress upon a suitable exposure of the Harney Mountain Range, located within the boundaries of the Harney National Forest in the State of South Dakota. Such association is further authorized to select the name, location, and design of such memorial: provided, that the United States shall be put to no expense in respect of such memorial.

 
Image of the first page of the United States Senate bill authorizing the construction of a national memorial in the Black Hills.
Image of the first page of the United States Senate bill authorizing the construction of a national memorial in the Black Hills.

United States Senate Bill 4189

S. 4189
68th Congress, 2d Session


In the Senate of the United States

February 2, 1925

Mr. Norbeck introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys

A BILL

To authorize the creation of a national memorial in the Harney National Forest


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Mount Harney Memorial Association hereafter to be created by the Legislature of South Dakota is hereby authorized to carve a memorial in heroic figures commemorative of our national history and progress upon a suitable exposure of the Harney Mountain Range, located within the boundaries of the Harney National Forest in the State of South Dakota. Such association is further authorized to select the name, location, and design of such memorial: provided, that the United States shall be put to no expense in respect of such memorial.

Last updated: February 25, 2019

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