1866 – At the age of 18, Vinnie Ream becomes the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the United States government for a statue (of Abraham Lincoln).
Lavinia Ellen “Vinnie” Ream Hoxie (September 25, 1847 – November 20, 1914) was an American sculptor. Her most famous work is the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
Ream was born September 25, 1847, in a log cabin in Madison, Wisconsin, as Lavinia Ellen Ream. She was the youngest daughter of Lavinia and Robert Ream. Robert Ream was a surveyor and a Wisconsin Territory civil servant. Her mother was a McDonald of Scottish ancestry. The Reams also operated a stage coach stop, one of the first hotels in Madison, from their home. Guests slept on the floor.
Her brother Robert Ream enlisted in the Confederate army, in Arkansas, serving in Woodruff’s battery.
Vinnie Ream attended Christian College in Columbia, Missouri, now known as Columbia College. A portrait of Martha Washington by Ream hangs in St. Clair Hall.
In 1861, her family moved to Washington, D.C. After her father’s health began to fail, she began working outside the home to support her family. Vinnie Ream was one of the first women to be employed by the federal government, as a clerk in the dead letter office of the United States Post Office from 1862 to 1866 during the American Civil War. She sang at the E Street Baptist Church, and for the wounded at Washington, D.C. hospitals. She collected materials for the Grand Sanitary Commission.
In 1863, James S. Rollins introduced Ream to sculptor Clark Mills. She became an apprentice in Mills’s sculpting studio the next year, at the age of seventeen. In 1864, President Lincoln agreed to model for her in the morning for five months, and she created a bust of his figure. During this time, Ream also began intense public relations efforts, selling photographs of herself and soliciting newspaper attention as a marketing strategy.
Vinnie Ream was the youngest artist and first woman to receive a commission as an artist from the United States government for a statue. She was awarded the commission for the full-size Carrara marble statue of Lincoln by a vote of Congress on July 28, 1866, when she was 18 years old. She had used her previous bust of Lincoln as her entry into the selection contest for the full-size sculpture. There was significant debate over her selection as the sculptor, however, because of concern over her inexperience and the slanderous accusations that she was a “lobbyist”, or a public woman of questionable reputation. She was notorious for her beauty and her conversational skills, which likely contributed to these accusations. She worked in a studio in Room A of the basement of the Capitol.
Senator Edmund G. Ross boarded with Ream’s family during the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Ross cast the decisive vote against the removal of President Johnson from office, and Ream was accused of influencing his vote. She was almost thrown out of the Capitol with her unfinished Lincoln statue, but the intervention of powerful New York sculptors prevented it. Once the U.S. government had approved the plaster model, Ream traveled to Paris, Munich, Florence, then Rome, to produce a finished marble figure. She studied with Léon Bonnat in Paris, also producing busts of Gustave Doré, Père Hyacynthe, Franz Liszt, and Giacomo Antonelli. Her studio in Rome was at 45 Via de San Basile. She met Georg Brandes at that time. While in Rome, she faced controversial rumors that claimed that it was the Italian workmen and not Ream who were responsible for her successful sculpture of Lincoln.
When the statue was complete, Ream returned to Washington. On January 25, 1871, her white marble statue of President Abraham Lincoln was unveiled in the United States Capitol rotunda, when Ream was only 23 years old. She later opened a studio at 704 Broadway, New York. In 1871, she exhibited at the American Institution Fair.
She returned to Washington and opened a studio and salon at 235 Pennsylvania Avenue. She was unsuccessful in her entry in the Thomas statue competition. In 1875, George Armstrong Custer sat for a portrait bust. In 1876, she exhibited at the Centennial Exposition. In November 1877, she produced a model for a Lee statue in Richmond. After lobbying William Tecumseh Sherman and Mrs. Farragut, she won a competition to sculpt Admiral David G. Farragut (Ream statue). Her sculpture, located at Farragut Square, Washington, D.C., was unveiled on May 28, 1878. It was cast in the Washington Navy Yard.
Ream married Richard L. Hoxie, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on May 28, 1878. They had one son. Her husband was reassigned to Montgomery, Alabama, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Finally, the Hoxies lived at 1632 K Street near Farragut Square, and had a summer home at 310 South Lucas Street, Iowa City, Iowa. Vinnie played the harp for entertainment.
Her marbles, America, The West, and Miriam, were exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Ream designed the first free-standing statue of a Native American, Sequoyah, to be placed in Statuary Hall at the Capitol.
She died on November 20, 1914. Vinnie Ream Hoxie and her husband are buried in section three of Arlington National Cemetery, marked by her statue Sappho.
Thaddeus Stevens 1865
The West 1870?
Abraham Lincoln 1871
Abraham Lincoln ca. 1870–1874
Admiral David G. Farragut (Ream statue) 1881
Edwin B. Hay 1902–06
Samuel Jordan Kirkwood 1906
A first-day cover stamp was issued in honor of Vinnie Ream and her work on the statue of Sequoyah, the Native American inventor of the Cherokee alphabet.
George Caleb Bingham painted her portrait twice.
The town of Vinita, Oklahoma, was named in honor of Vinnie Ream.
1925 – Baruch Samuel Blumberg, American physician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2011)
Baruch Samuel Blumberg (July 28, 1925 – April 5, 2011) — known as Barry Blumberg — was an American physician, geneticist, and co-recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (with Daniel Carleton Gajdusek), for his work on the hepatitis B virus while an investigator at the NIH. He was President of the American Philosophical Society from 2005 until his death.
Blumberg received the Nobel Prize for “discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases.” Blumberg identified the hepatitis B virus, and later developed its diagnostic test and vaccine.
Early life and education
Blumberg was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Ida (Simonoff) and Meyer Blumberg, a lawyer. He first attended the Orthodox Yeshivah of Flatbush for elementary school, where he learned to read and write in Hebrew, and to study the Bible and Jewish texts in their original language. (That school also had among its students a contemporary of Blumberg, Eric Kandel, who is another recipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine.) Blumberg then attended Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, a school that Blumberg described as having high academic standards, including many teachers with Ph.Ds. After moving to Far Rockaway, Queens, he transferred to Far Rockaway High School in the early 1940s, a school that also produced fellow laureates Burton Richter and Richard Feynman. Blumberg served as a U.S. Navy deck officer during World War II. He then attended Union College in Schenectady, New York and graduated from there with honors in 1946.
Originally entering the graduate program in mathematics at Columbia University, Blumberg switched to medicine and enrolled at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, from which he received his M.D. in 1951. He remained at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for the next four years, first as an intern and then as a resident. He then began graduate work in biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford and earned his Ph.D there in 1957, eventually becoming the first American to be master there.
Throughout the 1950s, Blumberg traveled the world taking human blood samples, to study the genetic variations in human beings, focusing on the question of why some people contract a disease in a given environment, while others do not. In 1964, while studying “yellow jaundice” (hepatitis), he discovered a surface antigen for hepatitis B in the blood of an Australian aborigine. His work later demonstrated that the virus could cause liver cancer. Blumberg and his team were able to develop a screening test for the hepatitis B virus, to prevent its spread in blood donations, and developed a vaccine. Blumberg later freely distributed his vaccine patent in order to promote its distribution by drug companies. Deployment of the vaccine reduced the infection rate of hepatitis B in children in China from 15% to 1% in 10 years.
Blumberg became a member of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) of the Lankenau Hospital Research Institute in Philadelphia in 1964, which later joined the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1974, and he held the rank of University Professor of Medicine and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania starting in 1977. Concurrently, he was Master of Balliol College from 1989 to 1994. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. From 1999 to 2002, he was also director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
In 2001, Blumberg was named to the Library of Congress Scholars Council, a body of distinguished scholars that advises the Librarian of Congress. Blumberg served on the Council until his death.
In November 2004, Blumberg was named Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of United Therapeutics Corporation, a position he held until his death. As Chairman, he convened three “Conference[s] on Nanomedical and Telemedical Technology”, as well as guiding the biotechnology company in the development of a broad-spectrum anti-viral medicine.
Beginning in 2005, Blumberg also served as the President of the American Philosophical Society. He had first been elected to membership in the society in 1986.
In October 2010, Blumberg participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s Lunch with a Laureate program, in which middle and high school students of the Greater Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area got to engage in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize–winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch.
In an interview with the New York Times in 2002 he stated that “[Saving lives] is what drew me to medicine. There is, in Jewish thought, this idea that if you save a single life, you save the whole world”.
In discussing the factors that influenced his life, Blumberg always gave credit to the mental discipline of the Jewish Talmud, and as often as possible, he attended weekly Talmud discussion classes until his death.
Blumberg died on April 5, 2011, shortly after giving the keynote speech at the International Lunar Research Park Exploratory Workshop held at NASA Ames Research Center. At the time of his death Blumberg was a Distinguished Scientist at the NASA Lunar Science Institute, located at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
Jonathan Chernoff, the scientific director at the Fox Chase Cancer Center where Blumberg spent most of his working life said, “I think it’s fair to say that Barry prevented more cancer deaths than any person who’s ever lived.” In reference to Blumberg’s discovery of the Hepatitis B vaccine, former NASA administrator Daniel Goldin said, “Our planet is an improved place as a result of Barry’s few short days in residence.”
In 2011, the Library of Congress and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the establishment of the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, a research position housed within the Library’s John W. Kluge Center, which explores the effects of astrobiology research on society. The Chair was named for Blumberg in recognition of his service to the Library of Congress Scholars Council, and his commitment to “research and dialogue between disciplines.” 
In 2011, in recognition of Blumberg’s long professional and personal association with the Department of Biochemistry and the Glycobiology Institute, Oxford University established the Baruch Blumberg Professorship in Virology.
The Baruch S. Blumberg papers are held at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, PA. The collection contains 458 linear feet of materials documenting the life and career of Dr. Blumberg.
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