Harlan Statue Project

Installed: 1910 in National Statuary Hall
Relocated: 2014 to Iowa Wesleyan University
Artist: Nellie V. Walker

James Harlan (1820-1899) was a U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Interior. After moving to Iowa, Harlan first became principal of Iowa City College, then president of Iowa Wesleyan University from 1853 to 1855 and, later, from 1869 to 1870. During the intervening years, he was a U.S. Senator focused on western measures, homesteads, railroads, and land-grant colleges. In 1865, he resigned to become Secretary of the Interior under President Andrew Johnson.

Harlan was a friend and advisor to President Abraham Lincoln. Harlan’s daughter, Mary, married Robert Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s son, and the couple’s Mount Pleasant home sits on the north end of the Iowa Wesleyan campus and is known as the Harlan-Lincoln House. James Harlan died in Mount Pleasant in 1899 and is buried in Forest Home Cemetery.

In 2014, the Harlan statue was replaced at the U.S. Capitol by one of Norman E. Borlaug and moved to Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant. An unveiling ceremony took place at Iowa Wesleyan on August 28, 2014, with Governor Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs in attendance. The statue remains the property of the State of Iowa on permanent loan with the college.

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