Fred Torrey

 1884 -1967

Fred Torrey

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Sculptor Fred Martin Torrey, born in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 29, 1884, specialized in depictions of Abraham Lincoln. Educated in the Fairmont schools, Torrey left West Virginia in 1909 to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago. He studied there with the renowned sculptor Lorado Taft (1880-1936).

Torrey met his wife, Mabel Landrum Torrey (1886-1974), also a sculptor, at the Institute. They were married in September 7, 1917 at Sterling, Logan, Colorado, and had one child, Elizabeth.

Fred Torrey’s 1933 statue, ‘‘Lincoln Walks at Midnight,’’ was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair as a model. In 1974, a nine-and-one-half foot bronze casting of the statue was erected near the West Virginia state capitol.

The nine-foot bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln now stands in front of the West Virginia State Capitol. The original work was a 29-inch bronze statue in a private collection in Des Moines, Iowa. First displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair, it was casted the nine-foot sculpture in 1974. It is based on the 1914 poem “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight” by Vachel Lindsay.

Torrey sculpted other historic figures as well, including Stephen Douglas, George Washington, and George Washington Carver. One of his last works was a 1965 bust of John F. Kennedy. Torrey died in Ames, Iowa, July 8, 1967.


Fred Torrey's Public Art in Greater Des Moines

  Fred Torrey

 1961  |  Long-Term Collection
  State Capitol Grounds