Abraham Baldwin Statue
Backstory and Context
The Abraham Baldwin statue can be found on the northern sector of the University of Georgia in front of the Old College building. It was dedicated on September 16, 2011. The statue is a bronze sculpture showing Abraham Baldwin, the founder of the University dressed in period clothing contemporary with the 18th century. Baldwin was not only the founder of the University of Georgia and its first president but is also known as the “father of public higher education,” with UGA being the first public institution for higher education in the United States.
Baldwin began his career at Yale College studying theology. He joined the Continental Army as chaplain just as the Revolutionary War began. Throughout the war he came into contact with many great leaders, notably George Washington and Nathanael Greene. After the war he moved to Augusta, Georgia where he began to practice law. From there he was given the task of establishing an education system for the state by Governor Lyman Hall. In January 1785, the state adopted the charter for the University of Georgia. UGA was the first of its kind and soon became the model for other public universities. Baldwin later joined the Confederation Congress and Constitutional Convention. He was one of two signers of the Constitution representing Georgia along with William Few. He was elected to the House of Representatives and remained until his death in 1807. He had a complicated political career including his terms as a state legislator and US Senator.
The statue was designed by artists Donald Haugen and Teena Stern. Both their names are inscribed in the base of the statue. The figure holds a rolled paper with the inscription, “By the representatives of the freemen of the state of Georgia in general assembly and by the authority of the same…” which is the heading of the University Charter. Next to the statue close to the building is a stone marker with an inscription detailing Abraham Baldwin’s accomplishments and positions within both the University and the Country. Dates include his birth, death, graduations, service in the Continental Army, and governmental positions.
Abraham Baldwin. University of Georgia Development and Alumni Relations. . Accessed April 23, 2018. http://dar.uga.edu/development/baldwin_statue_initiative/baldwin_bio.html.
Smith, Gerald. New Georgia Encyclopedia. November 11, 2005. Accessed April 27, 2018. http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/abraham-baldwin-1754-1807.
E. Merton Coulter, Abraham Baldwin: Patriot, Educator, and Founding Father (Arlington, Va.: Vandamere Press, 1987).
Thomas G. Dyer, The University of Georgia: A Bicentennial History, 1785-1985 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985).