Dr. Harley Burr Alexander, a native Nebraskan, served as the thematic consultant, working with Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and Lee Lawrie, identifying themes from history,literature, philosophy and anthropology that Lawrie would then use as the bases for his sculpture.

Alexander was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, educated at local schools in Syracuse, NE, the University of Nebraska, Pennsylvania University, and eventually he received his PhD from Columbia in New York City.

He spent five years refining and redefining definitions for the Merriam-Webster's dictionaries. He was a voracious reader and thinker.  He was proficient in Latin, French, German and Anglo Saxon languages.  

The stories he read influenced him to include references to them and the great philosophers, poets, statesmen, artists, scientists, and clerics, whose portraits Lawrie carved on the Nebraska State Capitol and the Los Angeles Public Library.

He taught at Pennsylvania, Nebraska and eventually at Scripps College in California.  

Few people have ever been as educated as this man was.  He may have been the best educated man whoever came out of Nebraska.

Photo credit: Nebraska State Historical Society, used with permission.

Dr. Hartley Burr Alexander








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