Memorial: Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand (18 February 1855 – 18 July 1932)
Location: Rock Creek Park, .25 mile south of Pierce Mill
Architect: Joseph Freedlander, New York architect
Dedication: November 7, 1936, 2 pm
Cost: $0 to taxpayers
Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand (February 18, 1855 – July 18, 1932) was French Ambassador to America. He came to Washington in 1902 and stayed until 1925 when he retired. He died in July 1932 in France.
He was well-known and well-liked during his time in America. Rock Creek Park was a favorite of Jusserand’s. He was friends with Theodore Roosevelt and was part of Roosevelt’s “Tennis Cabinet.” The two also used to take walks throughout Rock Creek Park.Shortly after Jusserand’s death, Cass Gilbert proposed a memorial to Jusserand “of an intimate nature, unpretentious in expression, and a tribute to the man, the scholar, the diplomat.” And Dr. Francklyn Paris of New York formed the Jusserand Memorial Committee, and became chairman. He invited 25 “leading statesmen and citizens” to join the committee and served as the head of the committee for four years.
In March 1935, Senator Metcalf from Rhode Island introduced a bill to allow for a memorial in Washington to Jean Jules Jusserand. On May 6, 1935, the House adopted the joint resolution authorizing the erection of a memorial to Jusserand. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to select a site on Government land for the memorial, “in memory and esteem of his fine friendship for the United States and its people during the 22 years of his service in Washington.” Congress would not appropriate funds for the project.
Rock Creek Park was fittingly selected as the location for the memorial, because “it was near Pierce Mill that the distinguished diplomat and Mms. Jusserand made frequent walks.” And the stories of Jusserand’s strenuous “walks” with President Theodore Roosevelt were also well known. The original suggested location was off Rock Creek Parkway near the P Street Bridge. But the current site was selected by Dr. Charles Moore, Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts at the time.
In a Commission of Fine Arts report, the “location for [the memorial] was selected in Rock Creek Park, where the Ambassador had spent many happy hours, at a spot among the trees a short distance south of Pierce Mill.”
According to National Park Service documentation, the Jusserand Memorial is located approximately one-quarter of a mile south of the Pierce Mill complex and is sited on a hill approximately twenty five feet east of Beach Drive.
The memorial bench is carved out of Milford (Massachusetts) Pink granite in the form of an exedra and incoporates low relief carvings of wings at its ends. The elliptical bench is approximately 22 feet long and 4 feet high and rests on a stepped granite platform.
The inscription reads
“Jusserand. Personal tribute of esteem and affection. 1855 – 1932”