Bronze Bust of Swedenborg Disappears from Lincoln Park, Chicago; Police Baffled (1976)

bronzebustlincolnparksmall.jpgOn June 28, 1924, a bronze bust of Swedenborg, sculpted by the Swedish artist Adolf Jonsson, was given to the city of Chicago by Mr. and Mrs. L. Brackett Bishop. The ceremonial unveiling of the statue, on an island at the edge of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, included a speech by Professor C.G. Wallenius; the reading of a letter from President Calvin Coolidge by Congressman Carl R. Chindblom; an address by Axel Wallenberg, Swedish Minister to the United States; and the reading of Edwin Markham’s poem “Swedenborg.”

jonssonbust.jpgThe statue remained in Lincoln Park until 1976, when it was stolen. The theft was reported in a February 10, 1976 article in the Chicago Tribune. “A Park District spokesman said the last bust burglary he recalled was that of a Beethoven bronze in the Lincoln Park Conservatory, stolen in April 1971. It never was recovered. ‘I can’t see why anyone would want that [Swedenborg] bust,’ he said. But apparently Swedenborg wasn’t the object of the haul. The metal alone is worth about $10,000, according to police” (Elaine Markoutsas, “Statue in Lincoln Park Disappears; Police Baffled,” Chicago Tribune, Feb. 10, 1976, p. 3).

For detailed information about the history of Jonsson’s bust of Swedenborg (including the complete text of Calvin Coolidge’s letter and Edwin Markham’s poem “Swedenborg”), see this article:

A Bronze Bust of Emanuel Swedenborg by Adolf Jonsson in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois

Photos: The photograph of the complete statue is in the colletion of the Academy of the New Church Archives, Swedenborg Library, Bryn Athyn, PA. The photograph of the bust is from the frontispiece of the January issue of New Church Life, 1923.

November 6, 2006 | Posted by: Kirsten Gyllenhaal in New Church History Fun Fact