The unveiling of a statue that was previously placed at the U.S. Capitol will take place today on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. The statue of U.S. Senator James Harlan was replaced in Washington, D.C. earlier this year by a statue of Iowa-born crop scientist and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug.
Elizabeth Garrels is a member of the Iowa Wesleyan College Board of Trustees “It’s a wonderful homecoming for Senator Harlan because not only is he a significant person in the history of Iowa Wesleyan College, but his contributions to the legacy of the state of Iowa — elected four times, as well as secretary of the interior,” Garrels says.
Harlan became president of Iowa Wesleyan in 1853 before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1855. His statue had stood at the U.S. Capitol since 1910.
“So we’re very pleased to have the statue come home,” Garrels says. “It’s very interesting to know that the sculptor for this statute was a woman from southeastern Iowa as well.”
Nellie Walker created the eight-foot tall bronze statue of Harlan. An unveiling ceremony is scheduled today for 2 p.m. Harlan was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Abraham Lincoln. Harlan’s daughter, Mary, married Robert Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s son.
The couple’s Mount Pleasant home sits on the Iowa Wesleyan campus, and now serves as a museum known as the Harlan-Lincoln House. James Harlan died in Mount Pleasant in 1899.
More information is available at: www.iwc.edu/Harlan