Tomas Garrigue Masaryk

masaryk_front-427x640Statue: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, March 7, 1850 – September 14, 1937
: triangle park at Massachusetts and 22nd Street, NW
Dedication Ceremony: November 2002
Completion Ceremony: March 8, 2003, 2pm
Sculptor: Vincene Makovsky, Czech
Cost: $0, $757,000 for the American Friends of the Czech Republic

The Masaryk statue was a gift to the United States from the Czech Republic.

The idea of having a statue of a Czech citizen in Washington, D.C. was championed by The American Friends of the Czech Republic (AFoCR) in 1999. The group became aware of a statue of Masaryk sculpted just before his death in 1937 by Czech sculptor Vincenc Makovsky. The sculpture had been stored for safekeeping during the Nazi invasion and the Soviet occupation. Once the sculpture was found, AFoCR lobbied Congress to accept the gift and a bill to accept the statue of Masaryk was passed on November 5, 2001.

The design concept for the Masaryk Memorial was approved in June 2002 and the final design approved in July 2002. And in September 2002, the statue of Masaryk was placed in the new T. G. Masaryk Park in Washington, D.C.

Masaryk’s great-granddaughter, Charlotta Kotik, unveiled the statue. It was dedicated by Czech President Vaclav Havel, U.S. Ambassador Craig Stapleton and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. A large crowd attended the ceremony and the U.S. Navy Band played the three national anthems. The stone plaza, landscaping and placement of a descriptive plaque were completed in 2004.

The 12-foot statue shows Masaryk with a hat in one hand and the Declaration of Czech Independence from Austria in the other.

In 1918, Masaryk , along with Eduard Bene, founded Czechoslovakia. Masaryk modeled the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence closely on the U.S. Declaration. President Woodrow Wilson who had advocated for all countries to be free and democratic after World War I, recognized Masaryk’s exile government as the de facto government of Czechoslovakia on Sept. 3, 1918.

Masaryk’s personal relationships with many Americans most notably President Woodrow Wilson, led to the recognition by the United States of a free Czechoslovakia in 1918. For six months Masaryk traveled throughout the United States writing the Joint Declaration of Independence from Austria that was signed in Philadelphia and issued in Washington on October 18, 1918, where he was declared the President of Czechoslovakia.

Masaryk, the son of a coachman and a cook, became a philosophy professor. He fought anti-Semitism and advocated women’s rights, even taking the family name of his American-born wife, Charlotte Garrigue, as his middle name.


A Hero of Democracy Finds a Home; D.C. Park Location Approved for Stored Statue of Czechoslovakia’s Founder. The Washington Post Company Mar 22, 2002.

Checks for Czechs and a Farewell to Havel: The Washington Post [Washington, D.C] 23 Sep 2002: C03.

Metro; In Brief: [FINAL Edition] The Washington Post [Washington, D.C] 08 Mar 2003: B03.

Americans Friends of the Czech Republic:

James Cardinal Gibbons

James Cardinal Gibbons Memorial StatueMemorial: James Gibbons (July 23, 1834 – March 24, 1921)
Unveiling: August 14, 1932, 3:30 p.m.
Location: Sixteen Street and Park Road, NW
Sculptor: Leo Lentelli
Cost: No cost to the United States, donated by the Knights of Columbus

The unveiling coincided with the golden jubilee convention of the Knights of Columbus, who gave dedicated the statue and presented it to the United States. Approximately 20,000 members of the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations turned out for the parade and the dedication ceremony.

The unveiling of the statue to Cardinal Gibbons was broadcast on the national radio network. President Hoover addressed the assembly and accepted the statue on behalf of the United States.

Martin H. Carmody, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, presented the memorial, and the Most Rev. John M. McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore made an address. The unveiling was performed by a grandniece of the late cardinal. There was also a papal delegate at the ceremony, the Most Rev. Peter Fumasoni-Biondi, who delivered the invocation and blessed the ceremony.

James Gibbons was born in Baltimore. And, although he grew up in Ireland, he came back to Maryland for his education. He was ordained a priest in 1861. Gibbons later became an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Richmond from 1872 to 1877, and as ninth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death in 1921. Gibbons was elevated to the cardinalate in 1886, the second American to receive that distinction, after John McCloskey.

The idea of a statue to Gibbons originated with Charles W. Darr, the Knights of Columbus State deputy supreme of the District. In 1928, seven years after his death, a joint bill was introduced in the House and Senate by Representative Fred N. Zihlman, of Maryland, and Senator Millard A. Tydings, of Maryland, authorizing the memorial. It was unanimously passed by Congress and approved by President Coolidge on April 23, 1928.

The resolution called for the memorial to be placed at 16th Street and Park Road on Government ground opposite the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. And the memorial was to be funded through contributions from the Knights of Columbus.

Because the Knights of Columbus were paying for the memorial they organized the judging of the initial models. The monument to Cardinal Gibbons was selected from a group of five models submitted by leading sculptors and approved by the Knights of Columbus committee for the memorial and the Fine Arts Commission of the District.

The plan for the memorial called for the Knights of Columbus to contribute all the funds for the statue.


James Gibbons, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

Catholic Memorial on U.S. Land Proposed, The Washington Post, January 6, 1928, pg. 20

Gibbons Statue Board Chosen, The Washington Post, May 1, 1928, pg. 3

K. of C. to Unveil Statue on Aug. 14: Late James Cardinal Gibbons, The Washington Post, June 6, 1932, pg. 8

Hoover to Accept Cardinal’s Statue, The Washington Post, Jul. 21, 1932, pg. 14

Gibbons’ Work Highly Lauded at Statue Rite, The Washington Post, Aug 15, 1932, pg. 1

Radio Dial Flashes. By ROBERT D. HEINL. The Washington Post, 14 Aug 1932: A2.