Vinne Ream Hoxie

farragut_vinnie3Vinnie Ream was the first woman and the youngest artist to ever receive a commission from the United States Government for a statue.

A self-made woman from a modest farming family, Ream was awarded a commission for a lifesize Carrara marble statue of Lincoln by a vote of United States Congress in 1866 when she was 18 years old. Legend has it that Lincoln, having heard that Vinnie was a “poor girl struggling to make her way” consented to sit for her, and no other sculptor.

Ream also sculpted the first free-standing statue of a Native American, “Sequoyah”, for Statuary Hall at the Capitol. She also built the first major monument to a U.S. Navy Officer, Admiral David Farragut, which stands in Farragut Square, Washington D.C.

By contemporary accounts a  lively and energetic woman with many interests, Vinnie Ream was one of the first women to be employed by the Federal Government during the Civil War, as a clerk in the Dead Letter Office of the US Post Office Department. A First Day Cover stamp was issued in honor of Vinnie and her statue of Sequoyah. Ream also volunteered at Washington, DC-area hospitals for returning Union soldiers, and at the age of thirty married Richard L. Hoxie of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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