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Hettie Anderson: Goddess-Like Model of the Gilded Age

Season 6, Ep. 156

Sometime in the 1890s – a young, tall, deeply handsome, light-skinned African American woman, and her mother, left the Jim Crow south and settled in New York City. She quickly became a sought-after artist’s model. Her form represented -- in statuary and coins, created by the most accomplished sculptors of the time – the ideal of the American Gilded Age – victorious, perfect, strong -- the Classic Greek idea of the female form –for a country in which some had became ridiculously rich during the Industrial Revolution – and most had fallen into poverty.

We talked with Eve Kahn and Willow Hagans about the golden figure striding ahead of General Sherman in Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan – the Greek goddess “Victory” – and the Black woman who was the model for that figure and who, in many ways, represents the artistic goals of the Gilded Age – Hettie Anderson.

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