December 15, 2009

George Robert White

George Robert White (1847-1922) was one of Boston’s greatest benefactors. President of the Potter Drug and Chemical Corporation, one of the largest wholesale drug firms in the United States a century ago, White’s success was ensured by Cuticura Soap, which literally translated as skin care, and embodied some of the medicinal properties of an ointment that cured rashes in additing to cleansing. This soap was marketed throughout the world and made a fabulous fortune. Samuel McComb said of George White that “His helpful hand was always stretched out to assist the weak. He was devoted to the highest welfare of the city.” White had created the George Robert White Fund “to be used for creating works of public utility and beauty, for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the City of Boston.” John Singer Sargent did this sketch of the philanthropist in 1917. The Angel of Peace was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and installed in 1905 on the White Lot on Magnolia Avenue. The angel stands majestically with clasped hands in a classically draped gown and robust outstretched wings. The landscaping was designed by the firm of Olmstead Brothers to enhance the sculpture. Another angel memorial for White, also sculpted by Daniel Chester French, was erected in 1924 in the Boston Public Garden, which depicted an angel casting bread upon the water. White Stadium in Franklin Park was named in his honor.

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