"Eleanor Roosevelt" monument was unveiled by former First
Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in Manhattan's Riverside Park (New York,
NY) in October of 1996. Since its dedication, the sculpture has
become a focal point for neighbors and visitors alike.
Sculptor Penelope Jencks was chosen out of over 400 applicants to
sculpt the larger than lifesize piece, which was sponsored in part
by the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund and the City of New York.
Penelope began her work on the piece in 1992, studying hundreds
of photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt. She chose a contemplative pose
for the sculpture, to suggest the complicated inner life of Eleanor
Roosevelt. Her sculpture also captures Mrs. Roosevelt's dignity,
simple humanity, and thoughtfulness. The sculpture's face expresses
wisdom and compassion as it looks off into the distance.
Penelope Jencks grew up in a household where Eleanor Roosevelt was
revered and quoted often. Thus, Penelope has said that while she
worked on this project, she felt a much stronger sense of identification
with Eleanor Roosevelt than she had with any other of her previous
subjects. This strong feeling, so apparent in the brooding, pensive
presence of the sculpture, is reinforced by the intimate physical
relation which the viewer receives by having the sculpture set on
the ground, almost directly in front of the observer.
On the sidewalk in front of the monumental sculpture is a stone
engraved with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: "Where, after
all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to
home. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks
equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity." - Eleanor