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Save me a seat…Bear Mountain, May 27, 1933 The Unveiling of the Stephen T. Mather Tablet

An earlier blog (Saturday in the Park with Eleanor), looked at Eleanor Roosevelt’s participation in the dedication of the Mather plaque at Bear Mountain State Park.  

 

Now, in the recently scanned materials from the Bancroft Library, we have the accep-tances and regrets from more than 140 invitees.  Listed alphabetically, they range from Charles Adams, the Director of the New York State Museum to Conrad Wirth who would become the longest serving Director of the National Park Service.  (Both said “Yes.”)

 

Among the other acceptances were Daniel Beard, founder of the Sons of Daniel Boone …William Connor, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy…William Blair, Director of the Bronx Zoo…and Royal Samuel Copeland, US Senator from New York.

 

Perhaps the most appropriate acceptance was from Percy Bryant Baker, the designer of the Stephen Mather plaque.

 

PERCY BYRANT BAKER 1881-1970

Percy Bryant Baker, better known as Bryant Baker, was a British-born American sculptor. He sculpted a number of busts of famous Americans (including five presidents). Baker designed the Stephen Mather plaque which is found in numerous National Parks.  Baker drew upon arts-and-crafts style of imagery and lettering. He shows Mather in profile, gazing off toward the left horizon, which on a map would be west, a bit reminiscent of Baker’s most famous work, the Pioneer Woman. In the background of the Mather plaque are sharp, Sierra-like peaks, and a forest.

 

In all, we know that, to date, 71 Mather plaques have been cast.  Most can be found in National Parks and Monuments.  And much closer to home, for all to see, the 71stplaque resides here at the Mather Homestead.







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