Jimmy Green Statue
At the front of Lippincott Hall stands this statue, dedicated in 1924, depicting James Green and a student. James “Uncle Jimmy” Green was the esteemed first dean of the University of Kansas School of Law. After his death in 1919, a group of former students and friends sought a means to memorialize him, commissioning an architect in 1920. Uncle Jimmy’s statue was placed in front of, at that time, Green Hall, the residence of the University of Kansas School of Law. In 1977, the School of Law relocated to its present location in new Green Hall, leaving Uncle Jimmy and his student in front of the rechristened Lippincott Hall. The statue of a professor and student is the only one of its kind on any campus, and has become one of the iconic symbols of the University of Kansas.
Backstory and Context
James Woods Green was the well-liked first head of the University of Kansas Department of Law, Therefore, when the Department of Law became the School of Law in 1899, he was made the School’s first dean. Green served the University of Kansas from 1878 to his death, on Nov. 4, 1919. After Green’s death, a group of former students, alumni, and friends formed the James Woods Green memorial association, to find a way of commemorating his life. Terrence J. Madden, a member of the association, wrote on the subject in the December, 1920 issue of the Graduate Magazine,
In the heart of every alumnus of old K.U. is the sentiment that the memory of Uncle Jimmie Green may never die. To perpetuate it we must erect on the campus near Green Hall a memorial that will not only symbolize but idealize his life. To this end the James Woods Green Memorial Association has been organized…We have selected Daniel Chester French, who, in the art of portraying personality, is the foremost sculptor of the world today.
Daniel Chester French, the sculptor of the famous Abraham Lincoln statue in Washington, DC, declined one request, but eventually accepted the commission on the condition that Green be depicted alongside a student. French chose to model the student on Alfred C. Alford, who was the first KU graduate killed in the Spanish American war. Upon visiting the University of Kansas’s campus to survey the location and consider the commission, French had this to say about the stories he heard of Green, “[I have] never seen such love for a man — unless it be in the case of Abraham Lincoln.” The statue was dedicated June 9, 1924, and though not in front of law’s home at KU, it remains a reminder of the life and legacy of Uncle Jimmy Green.
Jimmy Green Statue, Historic Mount Oread, http://www2.ku.edu/~union/hmof/landmarks/jimgreen.shtml accessed 12/16/14
“Green Memorial / 'Uncle Jimmy' Green.” KU Directory of Places, https://places.ku.edu/artwork/green-memorial-uncle-jimmy-green. Accessed 06/26/23.
Adams, Virginia, editor. On the Hill: A Photographic History of the University of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, 1983.