Darwin Statue on Suzzallo Library at University of Washington, Seattle

In 1924, sculptor Allan Clark created 18 statues for the exterior of the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington in Seattle – Moses, Pasteur, Dante, Shakespeare, Plato, Benjamin Franklin, Justinian, Newton, da Vinci, Galileo, Goethe, Herodotus, Adam Smith, Homer, Gutenberg, Beethoven, Darwin, and Grotius . Well, we’re in Seattle right now (for a giant booksale for something we do; you can support us by ordering books through our Amazon page at that link). We’ve been on the UW campus before, and even looked at the statues, but I hadn’t known there was one of Darwin. I shared someone else’s picture of it before, but since our hotel is on the perimeter of the campus, Patrick and I decided to head over to the library ourselves to check out the statue. Here’s the library in totality:

Fifteen of the statues grace the front of the building, while one is just on the left side, and two just on the right, those being obscured by trees. One of those two is Darwin (maybe that’s why I didn’t see it last time, kind of hard to see), holding what is presumably On the Origin of Species:


4 thoughts on “Darwin Statue on Suzzallo Library at University of Washington, Seattle

  1. Years ago I heard a story about Darwin’s leg on this statue. Allan Clark, the sculptor had initially designed the statue with a monkey climbing up his leg. However, the board wasn’t impressed with his hint at the origins of man and demanded he remove it. In a show of defiance the artist removed the leg completely and left it as an incomplete statue. I don’t know if this is true or not and can find no reference to it on the Internet… I have found other comments about it being taken during a demonstration in the 60’s or 70’s… Who knows… But it is a bit of interesting history

  2. Hi Brian, Via this website (http://cdphs.org/suzzallo-statures.html):

    “t is possible that just such an artistic whim leads to the most popular story visitors on current Suzzallo Library tours are told. In 1951, Harry C. Bauer, then director of the University of Washington Libraries, stated that Allan Clark had included a monkey on his preliminary model of his statue of Charles Darwin. Bauer wrote that the completed and mounted statue would have had the monkey clinging to Darwin’s left shoe, and thumbing his nose at the visitors below. The original version of the story stated that University President, Henry Suzzallo, objected, and had the monkey removed. Later on, the story changed, suggesting that Suzzallo’s fear of an anti-evolutionist backlash caused him to order that the monkey be removed. Current consensus seems to be that the original story was a fabrication of unknown origin, repeated by director Bauer, and embellished with each retelling.”

  3. Thank you for finding that… It’s nice to know I hadn’t imagined the whole story.

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