At A Glance
Part of the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program
Pennypacker was a native of Chester County, PA and the youngest general to serve in the Civil War
The basic concept for the sculpture was by Charles Grafly
Grafly died before the memorial could be completed, and his student (Albert Laessle) took over the project
Galusha Pennypacker, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, became at age 22* the youngest general to serve in the Civil War. After the Civil War he served in the South and on the western frontier before retiring to Philadelphia. The General Pennypacker Memorial Committee sponsored this monument in collaboration with the State Art Commission.
But Graftly died before the Pennypacker Memorial could be completed. The project was taken over by his student Albert Laessle…
The basic concept was developed by Charles Grafly, an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts who had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In addition to his sculptures for the Smith Memorial, he had created a massive statue of General Meade for Washington D.C. But Graftly died before the Pennypacker Memorial could be completed. The project was taken over by his student Albert Laessle, who was already known in Philadelphia for his Billy in Rittenhouse Square and his Penguins at the Zoo.
In keeping with the Beaux-Arts tradition, the monument portrays the youthful general in classical costume. With energetic determination the figure strides forward on top of a gun carriage flanked by two tigers.
Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).
* There is historical debate over Pennypacker’s exact birth year, which ranges from 1842 to 1844, depending on the source. The Chester County Historical Society offers some insight about this issue here.
Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art
Voices heard in the program:
Eric Berg (1945-2020) was a sculptor who lived in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
Anna O. Marley is Curator of Historical American Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum.
Frances H. Kennedy is editor and principal contributor of The Civil War Battlefield.
Segment Producer: Sarah Lilley
A program of the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association), Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an innovative and accessible outdoor sculpture audio program for Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art.
A “multi-platform” interactive audio experience – available for free by cell phone, mobile app, or on our website – Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO offers the unique histories that are not typically expressed on outdoor permanent signage.
Unlike audio tours that have a single authoritative guide or narrator, each speaker featured in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is an “authentic voice” – someone who is connected to the sculpture by knowledge, experience, or affiliation.
Over 150 unique voices are featured, including artists, educators, scientists, writers, curators, civic leaders, and historians.
This artwork is part of the Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway tour