Graceland Cemetery: Victor Fremont Lawson

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago:  Victor Fremont Lawson monument

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago: Victor Fremont Lawson monument

As well as the ‘Eternal Silence’ figure for Dexter Graves, the Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft supplied the thirteen-foot granite statue of ‘The Crusader’ (1931) for a monument that carries no name, but only the motto “Above all things truth beareth away victory”.

This is the tomb of Victor Fremont Lawson (1850-1925), who ran the Chicago Daily News from 1876 to the year of his death and was a co-founder and first president of Associated Press.

The Chicago Daily News broke new ground by publishing concise stories and popular features, aiming for a wider readership than its rivals. It depended on Lawson’s business acumen and capital – derived from his father’s real-estate fortune – to support its low cover-price.

In journalism he was an innovator, developing the use of foreign correspondents, syndication and classified advertising. He made the Daily News a platform for advocating urban reform and improved civic infrastructure and services, particularly during the period of the World’s Fair of 1893 and the creation of the Chicago Plan of 1909.

Lawson was also a philanthropist, supporting such organisations as the Daily News Fresh Air Fund and the YMCA.

He was a member of the Chicago Commission on Race Relations which reflected on the city’s race riots of 1919. Its influential report, The Negro in Chicago: a study of race relations and a race riot (1922), was compiled by the Commission’s Associate Executive Secretary, Charles S Johnson:

The monument was commissioned by Victor Lawson’s younger brother, Iver N Lawson. The crusader, bearing his sword and shield, was intended to symbolise the campaigning spirit of the great journalist, businessman and philanthropist.

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