MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa – After being in the United States Capitol since the year 1910, the statue of former Iowa senator James Harlan has returned home. The Harlan Statue had been on display at the National Statuary Hall Collection until it was replaced with a statue of the late Norman Borlaug.
“Senator Harlan was a true statesman and a public servant,” said Governor Terry Branstad in a news release. Ceremonies to unveil the statue outdoors had to be hastily moved indoors after the Senator’s likeness was revealed. Rain and wind caused a change in plans. Branstad credited the Borlaug Committee for working with the State Legislature, and Iowa Wesleyan to bring the statue home.
Harlan was a former president of Iowa Wesleyan, which is the oldest four-year college in Iowa. Harlan’s daughter Mary, married Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln.
“Harlan was a visionary leader who transformed a young college into a university offering relevant and rigorous academic programs to students in Southeast Iowa,” said Dr. Steven Titus, President of Iowa Wesleyan College. Titus said the unveiling “recognizes Harlan’s legacy to Iowa Wesleyan, the State of Iowa, and the United States.”
The 2011 Iowa Legislature voted to replace Senator Harlan in Washington with Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner recognized for food production efforts to save millions from hunger. Each state has two statues in the U.S. Capitol. The other statue is of former Governor Samuel Kirkwood.