• Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden (relocated 1985), Kelly Drive north of Boathouse Row
  • Bronze, on granite base 
  • Height 7'6" (base 4'2")
  • Initiated by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art)
  • Owned by the City of Philadelphia

John J. Boyle received his first major commission in 1880—a request from a Chicago patron for a group of Indian figures. An Indian Family was exhibited in his studio in Philadelphia before being shipped to Chicago, and it came to the attention of the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art). The Art Association confirmed its interest in acquiring an Indian grouping for Fairmount Park and resolved in 1883 to give Boyle a commission.

The resulting sculpture, Stone Age in America, received considerable local and national attention. Upon its arrival from France, it was shown at the American Art Association exhibition in New York City. When it arrived in Philadelphia in 1888, it was exhibited at the Haseltine and Company gallery by consent of the Art Association. It also stood temporarily outside the post office at Ninth and Chestnut until it was installed near Sweetbriar Mansion in West Fairmount Park. At the artist's request, the sculpture was sent to Chicago for exhibition at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and then it returned to the Sweetbriar Mansion area until 1985, when it was relocated to a grassy plot just south of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden. At its current site, Stone Age takes its place with other sculpture "emblematic" of American history.

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

(Photos by Caitlin Martin)

Stone Age in America

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Voices heard in the program:

Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds
 is an artist and professor of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Kate Brockman is a sculptor who teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 

Dr. Evan Turner is former Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Segment Producer: Amanda Aronczyk

Music on Stone Age in American
"Quartet No. 14 in G Major, Spring, K. 387"
Written by: Mozart
Performed by: Borromeo String Quartet
Courtesy: Borromeo String Quartet

"Waltz des Gauchers (with Les Gauchers Orchestra)"
Performed by: Les Gauchers Orchestra
Written by Lee Maddeford
Courtesy: Lee Maddeford

Vimeo Video

Voices heard in the program:

Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds
 is an artist and professor of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Kate Brockman is a sculptor who teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 

Dr. Evan Turner is former Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Segment Producer: Amanda Aronczyk

Music on Stone Age in American
"Quartet No. 14 in G Major, Spring, K. 387"
Written by: Mozart
Performed by: Borromeo String Quartet
Courtesy: Borromeo String Quartet

"Waltz des Gauchers (with Les Gauchers Orchestra)"
Performed by: Les Gauchers Orchestra
Written by Lee Maddeford
Courtesy: Lee Maddeford