Yesterday I put the final touches on my upcoming talk this Sunday at Camp Doughboy on Governors Island about John Purroy Mitchel. Later I did a dry run for a friend in my department to work out the kinks. A dress rehearsal always helps with these things in turns of timing, avoiding ambiguity, and just making certain that are sufficiently clear. I am as ready as I am going to be.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney sculpted this doughboy statue in Upper Manhattan in 1923 and later founded the Whitney Museum of Art. Quentin Roosevelt was engaged to her daughter when killed in an airfight in France in July 1918.

In part of the talk I discuss the ways the JP Mitchel is remembered in New York City. Mitchel Square at 168th and Broadway is just one memorial to the Boy Mayor. There too is this beautiful statue that we see above, which was not sculpted expressly for Mitchel himself but for the men on Washington Heights who fought in the war. I happened to be in northern Manhattan a few weeks ago on my way to somewhere else when I stumbled upon it. Yesterday after my walk through my friend and I were discussing Mitchel and breaking down some of the details of his life and times. Color me ignorant but I did not know that the statue in Mitchel Square was designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Gertrude was the mother of Flora Payne Whitney, Quentin Roosevelt’s fiancée. Of course Quentin himself died in a military plane incident above France just two weeks after Mitchel was killed in Louisiana two weeks earlier.

Check out the schedule for Camp Doughboy 2018 here.