Theo Ruggles Kitson (1876 -1932), sculptor
The Hiker, by Theo Ruggles Kitson
Photograph by Dick Cook.
Theo Ruggles Kitson, one of the most prolific female bronze sculptors in America, was born in 1876 in Brookline and showed an early aptitude for sculpture. In her teens, she became the protege of Henry Hudson Kitson, a well-known American sculptor from England. He had studied in Paris and encouraged the young Ruggles to do the same. The two were married in Paris in 1893. In 1899, Ruggles Kitson won honorable mention at the Salon des Artistes Francais. She went on to win a bronze medal at the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904. The Kitsons separated in 1909, and Ruggles Kitson moved to Farmington, where she maintained a studio until her death in 1932. Attributing sculptures to Ruggles Kitson and her husband becomes very confusing because of a similarity in their styles. Part of the difficulty also lies in the fact that the Gorham Foundry in Rhode Island continued to cast reproductions from the molds after Ruggles Kitsons death. Two Massachusetts examples of Ruggles Kitson's sculptures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and both are featured in this itinerary. The sculpture pictured here is one of a series of "Hikers" commemorating Spanish-American War veterans that can be found throughout the United States. The Hiker sculpture found in Waltham, MA, was erected in the 1920's in the Waltham Town Common and Statuary, and is a fine bronze cast of these familiar foot soldiers. The second, a likeness of Thaddeus Kosciuszko in the Boston Public Garden, was erected in 1927, and it portrays the Polish hero of the American Revolution holding the plans for the future West Point. Ruggles Kitsons allegorical and equestrian figures are found in many communities in Massachusetts.
The Hiker is located in the Waltham Town Common in the Central Square Historic District along Main St. in Waltham, MA. The Waltham Town Common is open to the public.
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