For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Alexander Milne Calder.

Alexander Milne Calder

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Alexander Milne Calder" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Alexander Milne Calder
A Tacony Iron Works employee with the head of Calder's statue of William Penn in 1894; the statue now stands atop Philadelphia City Hall
Born(1846-08-23)August 23, 1846
Aberdeen, Scotland
DiedJune 4, 1923(1923-06-04) (aged 76)
Resting placeWest Laurel Hill Cemetery (Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, U.S.)
EducationPennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Known forSculpture

Alexander Milne Calder (August 23, 1846 – June 4, 1923) (MILL-nee) was a Scottish American sculptor best known for the architectural sculpture of Philadelphia City Hall. Both his son, Alexander Stirling Calder, and grandson, Alexander Calder, became significant sculptors in the 20th century.

Early life and education

Calder was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of a tombstone carver. He attended the Royal Academy in Edinburgh during which he worked for sculptor John Rhind, the father of sculptor J. Massey Rhind. Calder then moved to London, where he worked on the Albert Memorial. In 1868, he emigrated to the United States and settled in Philadelphia, where he studied with Joseph A. Bailly and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.


In 1873, he was hired by architect John McArthur Jr., to produce models for the sculptures adorning Philadelphia City Hall. The commission required more than 250 marble and bronze pieces and took Calder twenty years to complete. That same year, Calder was commissioned by the forerunner of Philadelphia's current Association for Public Art, the Fairmount Park Art Association, to create an equestrian statue of Major General George Gordon Meade for Fairmount Park. Then in 1875, he won the competition for the colossal (37 foot tall) bronze statue of William Penn that was to crown the new City Hall's tower. That portrait sculpture remains to this day the largest atop any building in the world.[1][2][3]

Calder is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb.

Notable works



  • Bach, Penny Balkin, Public Art in Philadelphia, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1992 ISBN 0-87722-822-1
  • Craven, Wayne, Sculpture in America, Thomas Y Crowell Co, NY, NY 1968 ISBN 0-87413-225-8
  • Fairmount Park Association, Sculpture of a City: Philadelphia's Treasures in Bronze and Stone, Walker Publishing Co., Inc, NY. NY 1974 ISBN 0-8027-7100-9
  • Hayes, Margaret Calder Three Alexander Calders, Paul S Eriksson Publisher, Middlebury, Vermont, 1977 ISBN 0-8397-8017-6
  • Kvaran and Lockley, A Guide to Architectural Sculpture in America, unpublished manuscript
  • Williams, Oliver P., County Courthouses of Pennsylvania: A Guide, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA 2001 ISBN 0-8117-2738-6


  1. ^ Fodor's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, New York: Fodor Travel Publications, 2007, 51.
  2. ^ Hornblum, Allen M., and George J. Holmes, Philadelphia's City Hall, Mount Pleasant: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.
  3. ^ DK Travel, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Westminster: Penguin Random House, 2017, 74-5.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Alexander Milne Calder
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?