Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, March 5, 2021

Remembering a Veteran: Capt. Laura Gardin Fraser, American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps

Ambulance Driver

Laura Gardin Fraser (1989-1966) was an American sculptor who designed over 100 coins, medals and monuments.   She attended the Horace Mann School in New York and studied sculpture at the Art Students League, where her instructor was James Earle Fraser. After their marriage in 1913, she continued to work as a sculptor first assisting her husband and then designing on her own.  She designed the Alabama Centennial half-dollar in 1921, earning her the distinction of being the first woman to design a coin for the United States Treasury. Laura’s most famous monument was the Lee and Jackson equestrian in Baltimore that was pulled down in 2017.


She was greatly involved with the First World War during which Laura volunteered for and served as a captain of Ambulance Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps transporting wounded soldiers. Afterwards, Laura designed the WWI Army and Navy Chaplains medal, and an equestrian monument of General Pershing that was never completed as far as I can determine.  


Her husband, Sculptor James Earle Fraser of  Buffalo Nickel and The End of the Trail fame, designed the US Victory Medal, the Navy Cross, the US 2nd Division Monument in DC, and the Canadian Officer Monument and the Patria Monument for the Bank of Montreal. Laura Gardin Fraser is buried next to her husband in Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport, Connecticut.

Thanks to Michael Grauer at the National Cowboy Museum for bringing Laura's story to our attention.

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