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 Harry Dickinson Thrasher  (1883 - 1918)

About: Harry Dickinson Thrasher


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Lived/Active: New Hampshire / France      Known for: commemorative and figural sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Harry Thrasher was a sculptor born in Plainfield, New Hampshire where he had ties to artist members of the Cornish Colony including illustrator Maxfield Parrish and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  Thrasher studied with St. Gaudens and then from 1911 to 1914 studied on a scholarship to the American Academy in Rome, where Saint-Gaudens had been a founding member. 

Thrasher was a member of the National Sculpture Society and the Society of Mural Painters.  His work can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

At the onset of World War I, Parrish wrote the Secretary of the Army recommending Thrasher for the Camouflage Corps, thinking that artists would serve well in that unit with their talents and that they would be relatively safe behind the battle lines.  Also, Homer Saint-Gaudens, son of Augustus, was a Captain of that company.   However, Thrasher was killed early in his career shortly after their Unit arrived in France.  It was his pal Faulkner who had to identify his body in the field. 

Thrasher's death was very hard on the tight-knit community of Cornish, and Parrish blamed himself unnecessarily for recommending him there.   However, the report from Faulkner was that Thrasher just would not stay behind the lines where it was safe designing and painting the camouflage protective covers.   He actually went out on the field to test their efficiency.  He was installing a camouflaged protective cover over some guns and equipment when he was killed  on August 11, 1918.  He's buried in France.  Paul Manship, also a close friend of Thrasher and Faulkner, and created sculpture for his memorial at the American Academy in Rome, where Thrasher had attended.  His friend Barry Faulkner did the mural for the Thrasher Memorial.

The selectmen of the Town of Plainfield, NH where Thrasher was born named  a little road that goes from the Maxfield Parrish Highway (NH Rt 12-A) to the Blow Me Down Creek of Saint-Gaudens' fame:  The Harry Thrasher Road.  In its quiet, rural beauty it seems a fitting memorial to the man.

Sources include:
Alma Gilbert-Smith, Director of the Cornish Colony Museum.  Her reference was the autobiography, Barry Faulkner: Sketches from an Artist's Life.

Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

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