Walker Kirtland Hancock was born in St. Louis, MO, on June 28, 1901, and he was known for his art work in 20th century America, particularly his sculptures. It is said that he made hundreds of sculptures in his lifetime. He is most famous for his work “Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial” in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station as well as being involved in the creation of the gigantic carving of Confederate leaders on Stone Mountain, GA.
He began to first pursue his passion for art at a young age. He spent a year at the School of Fine Arts at Washington University, but he received a scholarship to go to St. Louis School of Fine Arts so he left WU. He went on to receive other scholarships to further his education in art. At the beginning of his career he was also a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy in Rome from 1929-1968. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II and he led an effort to retrieve art work that had been stolen by Nazis. He also designed the Air Medal, which is still used by the U.S. military.
He received many honors and awards for his work, such as Prix de Rome, George D. Widener Memorial Medal of Honor, the National Sculpture Society Medal of Honor, National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His works were outstanding and numerous; he made sculptures of President George H. Bush, James Madison and a Christ figure. His art went as far as being presented in the New York World’s Fair in 1939.
Hancock died in Gloucester, MA, on December 30, 1998.