One should appreciate the talented people who survive war, but one should also wonder of the talent lost in war.

Among the fortunate there is Robert Merrell Gage, born in Topeka on December 26, 1892.  Gage attended Topeka public schools and what was then Washburn College.  After graduation he studied sculpture with Gutzon Borglum–of Mount Rushmore fame–and Robert Henri.  He came back to Topeka in 1916 for his first public commission–the seated Lincoln statue on the Capitol grounds in Topeka.

His career was interrupted by the Great War.  He served in the 35th Division as a sergeant in the One Hundred and Tenth Sanitary Train.

Returning home, he added  many monuments in a career that lasted to his death in 1981.  In Topeka he added to the Capitol grounds with his Pioneer Mother Memorial.  In Kansas City he created two tributes to those who fought in the Great War.  American Legion Fountain #1 sits in the Budd Park Esplanade at Van Brunt and Anderson (  American Legion Fountain #2 is in Swope Park (

More information on Gage can be found here:


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.