The vision of a statue honoring the pioneer women of this country belonged to E.W. Marland, Ponca City resident, oilman, philanthropist, U.S. Congressman, and 10th governor of the state of Oklahoma. In 1926, Marland invited 17 leading sculptors to submit designs in the form of small models. Four months later, the models were exhibited across the nation and 750,000 persons cast votes for their preference. Bryant Baker's vision of the pioneer woman was the clear winner. Located across the street from the museum, the Pioneer Woman is a heroic bronze statue of a young, sun bonneted pioneer mother, leading her son by the hand, striding confidently, head held high--a woman of sturdy beauty and dignity, whose eyes are fixed on the far southwestern horizon.
Unveiling ceremonies were held on April 22, 1930, with a dedication service described by national writers as the most stirring outdoor event in the history of Oklahoma.
The statue, dedicated to all pioneer women of the United States, carries the following inscription: "In appreciation of the heroic character of the women who braved the dangers and endured the hardships incident to daily life of the pioneer and homesteader in this country."
Replica of the Pioneer Woman Statue
Earnest Whitworth Marland commissioned artist, Bryant Baker to sculpt the original 17' Pioneer Woman Statue to honor America's vanishing womanhood. The statue was unveiled in Ponca City, Oklahoma on April 22, 1930.
A 9 ÃÆâÃâÃÂ½ " replica of the statue was cast by the Jennngs Brothers Foundry, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, around the same date. Bryant Baker's signature and the date 1927 is inscribed on the replica, along with the number 'JB 3355'. The same number is found on each of the replicas. It is unknown what the number represents or how many were produced.
Supposedly, Baker had nothing to do with their manufacture and was quite upset with company for reproducing his work without his permission. Records show that the Jenning Brothers Foundry burned in 1941.
Research done over the years maintains that the material used these Jennings Brothers replicas is 'pot metal' rather than bronze. In 1927, the Jennings Brothers replicas sold for $15.95, with an increase to $22.50 in later years.
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