A shining moment for UIU Henderson statue

Henderson statue

While standing before the recently conserved David B. Henderson statue on Upper Iowa University’s Fayette Campus, UIU Henderson-Wilder Library staff members (l-r) Mary White, Jodi Hilleshiem and Becky Wadian display a few additional pieces of the David B. Henderson collection that is proudly displayed at the University.

FAYETTE, Iowa (June 22, 2015) – It almost seems as if the David B. Henderson statue on the Upper Iowa University Fayette Campus is standing even taller after the sculpture of one of the University’s favorite sons was recently conserved. The refinishing work was completed by Max-Cast Inc. of Kalona, Iowa, two employees of whom were among those to first install the statue in the ’90s.

"David B. appears even more noble and distinguished than he did before as he looks out across the community from the steps of the campus library," smiled Becky Wadian, director of library services. "Although a magnificent statue to observe at any time, I have always believed he is especially captivating to view during the evening hours as he elegantly stands under the lights."

"We're so fortunate to have this statue, which honors a portion of this university’s long, rich history, and so many other beautiful sculptures openly displayed across our campus," added UIU President William Duffy. "The Reflective Tribute military memorial gifted by alumnus Stan Lee and the 13 sculptures installed after a generous endowment by alumni Bill and Betty Andres also pay homage to faculty and students who once walked these grounds."

David B. Henderson attended UIU in 1861, but his pursuit of a college education soon ended when he joined the "University Recruits," who served the Union Army as Company C of the 12th Iowa Voluntary Infantry Regiment. The Company fought in 17 major battles, including the Battle of Shiloh.

After being discharged in February 1863 due to wounds from separate battles to his neck, a foot, and leg, Henderson studied law and was eventually elected the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from west of the Mississippi. Originally from Clermont, Iowa, Henderson died at the age of 65 in February 1906.

In 1902, Iowa Governor William Larrabee, who also lived in Clermont, commissioned sculptor J. Massey Rhind to create at least one statue in Henderson’s honor. The original bronze rendition is still located on Main Street in the Fayette County community.

The State Historical Library & Archives recently confirmed that a plaster statue mold made by Rhind also arrived at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines over 100 years ago. Every indication is that the museum did not solicit for the statue and the historic record implies that Rhind was not pleased that the sculptor’s working plaster template ended up in the possession of the museum. Although the contents of a letter from Rhind dated Feb. 1, 1905, indicate the statue was in storage, it has not since been uncovered.

Through the generous support of then Clermont Mayor Rod Wagner and the Clermont City Council, Mr. Henderson would return to the UIU Fayette Campus in 1994. Upper Iowa “borrowed” the nearby community’s David B. Henderson statue from which a rubber mold, waxwork, bronze casing, and patina was completed to create the historic replica. UIU’s David B. Henderson statue was then installed in the portico of the original west entrance to Henderson-Wilder Library.

About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, nonprofit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,200 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 21 U.S. locations, as well as a location in Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit uiu.edu.

Michael Van Sickle
Editorial Services Director
Office of Communication and Marketing
Phone 563-425-5326