James Earle Fraser was born in Winona, Minnesota, on November 4, 1876. He studied first at the Art Institute of Chicago and the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris. His first big sculpture was entitled End of the Trail, and won a $1,000 price from the American Art Association. He became the assistant of Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1898 in Paris, where he worked on the Sherman Monument. He set up his on studio in 1902, though he often worked with Saint-Gaudens.

After that, he made portraits of many celebrities. These included Sonny Whitney, Flora Whitney, Jock Whitney, Sherman Pratt, Jr., Roland Harriman, Saint-Gaudens, Teddy Roosevelt, Warren Delano, Elihu Root, John Nance Garner, William Polk, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, Sage Goodwin, John Goodwin, Henrietta and John Deming, Pat Ford, and Eastman Chase.

In between 1906 and 1911, he taught in New York City, where he met his future wife, Laura Gardin. In 1911, Secretary of the Treasury Franklin McVeigh asked him to design the famous Buffalo nickel, as well as the Navy Cross and a marble statue of Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. On November 27, 1913, Fraser married Laura Gardin. They moved to Westport, Connecticut. In 1915, Fraser expanded End of the Trial to 15 feet high in San Francisco. , statuettes, and countless themes and forms.

Fraser was the first person to win the Saltus Medal from the American Numismatic Society, in 1919. He also won the Century Association Medal and the National Sculpture Society Medal of Honor in 1952. He died on October 11, 1953.

A list of his other statues:
John Jay Memorial, Cleveland
Bishop Potter, Cathedral St. John the Divine, New York Fountain group for E. H. Harriman, Arden, New York
Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark for the State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO
Benjamin Franklin, Springfield, IL
Two bridge groups, Pioneers and Discoverers, for Michigan Avenue bridge,
Chicago, IL Abraham Lincoln, for the beginning of Lincoln Highway, Jersey City, NJ
Seated statue of Thomas A. Edison, Edison Institute, Dearborn, MI
Seated statue of Harvey Firestone, Akron, OH
Four symbolic figures in Elks National Memorial, Chicago, IL
Equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt as the naturalist before the New York State Roosevelt Memorial and on top of the four columns behind this statue are Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and John James Audubon, New York City
General George S. Patton at West Point and also at Boston, MA
Canadian officer, Winnipeg, Canada
Victory figure, Bank of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
The Mayo Brothers in Rochester, MN In Washington, D.C.
John Ericcson Memorial
Alexander Hamilton, at the south front of the Treasury building
Journey through Life at Rock Creek Cemetery
Two figures of Law and Justice in front of Supreme Court Building;
Archives Pediment on the Constitution Avenue side of the Archives Building
designed four pediments on Commerce Building
2nd Division Memorial
Two groups, the Peaceful Arts on the Lincoln Memorial Plaza forming the bridge heads to the Rock Creek Bridge
Recumbent figure of Dr. F. Ward Denys, Washington Cathedral

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