Leonard Wells Volk

7 November 1828 – 19 August 1895

Leonard Wells VolkLeonard Volk was born in Wellston, New York. He got his start as a marble cutter in his father‘s business before deciding to become a fine-art sculptor.

He studied in Rome to perfect his art. After returning to the US, he helped to establish the Chicago Academy of Design.

His fame is closely tied with the work he did portraying Abraham Lincoln.

His initial work was done from life, creating a life mask with Lincoln’s cooperation and later also making casts of both his hands. He created a bust prior to Lincoln’s death and later a full-sized statue.

The statue is on display at the Illinois State Capitol to this day. Volk was also well known for several other large sculptures, including for the tomb of Lincoln’s former political rival Stephen A. Douglas and the Soldiers’ Monument in New York. He died at age 66 in Chicago, Illinois.

The statue of him sitting and looking over the cemetery, sits on a little island toward the front of Rosehill. The rest of his family is also interred with him here, including his wife, three of his children, and a son-in-law.

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