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Mother Goose

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Mother Goose

Mother Goose located on 5th Avenue in Central Park is made out of Stony Creek and Deer Isle granites. It was sculptured by Fred George Richard Roth in 1938. It is a 60 inch granite sculpture. Tourists may locate Mother Goose’s sculpture by the stairway entrance of Rumsey Playfield. When a person hears of “Mother Goose” some may automatically think of the nursery rhymes she is associated with. Carved at the sides of the sculpture are other childhood characters such as, Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole, Little Jack Horner, Mother Hubbard, Little Bo Beep, and Mary had a Little Lamb.

Frederick George Richard Roth born on April 28th, 1872 – dies May 21st, 1944 was an animalier and a well-known American sculptor from Brooklyn, New York. He studied in Europe as well as in the US. Roth also studied animals and their natural habitats; he was well known for portraying animals in his sculptures. He was a professional working sculptor by 1900, and in 1906 he was elected to the National Academy of Design, an “honorary association of American artists.” He was also the president of the National Sculpture Society in 1910, an organization to promote the American sculptors. Along with his success, he also won awards for his work in the Pan-American Exposition, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. He was the head of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; most of his sculptors are located in Central Park Zoo. Roth also sculpted the Rolling Donkey, Chum, Short Horn Bull Dancing Bear, Dancing Goat, Balto, Polar Bear, Sophie Irene Loeb, Kit Carson monument, Bronze Lion, and Horse Tamer, and many more; most of his sculptures were all animals. Of these, Mother Goose was the only sculpture that was made out of Stony Creek Granite. When the Zoo was redesigned, some of the larger sculptured animals were designated to other zoos.  Since some of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes talked about animals, perhaps Roth thought that it would have been a good idea to place the Mother Goose sculpture around the Central Park Zoo.

Mother Goose is an imaginary figure of nursery rhymes and fairy tale literature. Nursery rhymes such as, “Baa Baa Black Sheet,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” “Humpty Dumpty,” “Jack and Jill,” and etc. are all written by Mother Goose. Mother Goose rhymes are in the public domain, and often appear in children’s productions such as Barney & Friends, a hit TV show that aired in 1992 that set a huge impact to the children. The TV program conveyed learning throughout songs and dance with optimistic approaches; it also taught them nursery rhymes. In this episode she states that she’s “been around for many many years, for a very very very long time.” Mother Hubbard is said to be carved at the side of the Mother Goose sculpture. Around 1590, Edmund Spenser, an English poet, publish a satire titled, Mother Hubbard’s tale, which incorporated fairy stories of Madame d’Aulony, a French writer. There is no evidence, but there are “doubtful reports” by Eleanor Early, a Boston traveler and history writer, that Mother Goose was real and her name was either Elizabeth Foster Goose or Mary Goose; she was the wife of Isaac Goose. She had six children with him. When he passed away, she went out to live with her eldest daughter, who married a publisher named, Thomas Fleet. Early says that Goose would sing to her grandchildren and other children all day. From there, her son-in-law made the songs into nursery rhymes. There are other speculations like in The Real Personages of Mother Goose, Katherine Elwes Thomas believes that based on ancient legends, Mother Goose was wife of Robert II of France.

Stony Creek Granite is known to be used for architectural designs. They are used for “high end quality” projects. Exterior and interior designs, they are used in restaurants, hotels, casinos, and fountains; for all of the projects that stony creek granite is used for, they are known to give a “long lasting and beautiful shine.” (StonePly)

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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 November 2011 02:41  


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