The Pilgrim (1904)

by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848 - 1907)

Photo Caption: Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    The Pilgrim

  • Artist

    Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848 - 1907)

  • Year

    1904; installed 1905; relocated 1920

  • Location

    Kelly Drive at Lemon Hill Drive

  • Medium

    Bronze, on fieldstone base

  • Dimensions

    Height 9’1″, width 5'4", depth 3'10" (base height 1’7″, width 9'8". depth 5'10")

Gift of the New England Society of Pennsylvania to the City of Philadelphia

Owned by the City of Philadelphia

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At A Glance

  • Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of the most influential and successful artists of the late 19th century

  • Saint-Gaudens’ The Puritan located in Springfield, Massachusetts is the first version of The Pilgrim

  • In creating The Pilgrim, Saint-Gaudens made slight changes in the figure’s dress and adjusted facial characteristics

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was one of the most influential and successful artists of the late nineteenth century. His James A. Garfield Monument was installed along East River (now Kelly) Drive in 1895. The Puritan, the first version of The Pilgrim, was commissioned by Chester W. Chapin as a monument to one of the founders of Springfield, Massachusetts—Deacon Samuel Chapin (1595–1675). The New England Society of Pennsylvanians asked Saint-Gaudens to make a replica of The Puritan for the city of Philadelphia.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Pilgrim sculpture on Kelly Drive
Photo Caitlin Martin © 2010 for the Association for Public Art

For the later commission Saint-Gaudens made some changes in the figure’s dress and adjusted the facial characteristics to represent a New England type: “For the head in the original statue, I used as a model the head of Mr. Chapin himself, assuming that there would be some family resemblance with the Deacon, who was his direct ancestor. But Mr. Chapin’s face is round and Gaelic in character, so in the Philadelphia work, I changed the features completely, giving them the long, New England type, besides altering the folds of the cloak in many respects, the legs, the left hand, and the Bible.” The Pilgrim was originally placed on the South Plaza of City Hall but was relocated to its present site in 1920.

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

Voices heard in the Museum Without Walls: AUDIO program: Joe Conforti is author of Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Twentieth Century. Erika Doss writes about public art, including Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America. Gregory Schwarz (1951-2020) was the Chief Interpreter at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. | Segment Producer: Ben Calhoun

Museum Without Walls: AUDIO is the Association for Public Art’s award-winning audio program for Philadelphia’s outdoor sculpture. Available for free by phone, mobile app, or online, the program features more than 150 voices from all walks of life – artists, educators, civic leaders, historians, and those with personal connections to the artworks.

This artwork is part of the Along Kelly Drive tour

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