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Bust of Albert Woolson Given To GAR Museum

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. —The Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library recently unveiled its most recent acquisition, a bronze bust of Albert Woolson, last Union survivor of the Civil War.

This slightly larger than life-size bronze bust led to the creation of the monument to the Grand Army of the Republic located at Zeigler's Grove outside of the Cyclorama Center in Gettysburg National Military Park.

David N. Fairbanks, M.D. and Mrs. Sylvia Fairbanks of Bethesda, Md., with the consent of other Fairbanks family members, donated the bust to the museum. Dr. Fairbanks is the son of the world-renowned sculptor, Avard Fairbanks, creator of the bust and the Gettysburg monument.

While participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Gettysburg last November, Dr. Fairbanks recalled his conversations with Albert Woolson as the aged veteran posed for his father. During this visit to Gettysburg, Dr. Fairbanks also learned of the existence of the museum and its dedication to preserving the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Museum President Elmer (Bud) Atkinson, Past Commander in Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans, received a telephone call early this year from Dr. Fairbanks, asking if the museum would be interested in adding the bust to its collection. After first having the bust refurbished at a foundry, the Fairbanks family shipped it to the museum in late April and it was formally unveiled at the next open house program.

The Woolson bust sits on top of a G.A.R. podium in the front hallway of the museum where it greets visitors as they arrive. The museum is located at 4278 Griscom St. For information call (215) 289-6484.

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