Communities throughout the U.S. West erected monuments to white pioneer mothers in the late 1920s. While other western sculptors’ interest in frontier women soon faded, Avard Fairbanks continued to produce prominent public monuments to pioneer women and families for the next fifty years. Fairbanks’s pioneer monuments provide a valuable case study for examining the ways in which changing social norms influenced public monuments over the course of the twentieth century. Focusing on Avard Fairbanks’s fifty years of pioneer-themed monuments highlights the sculptor’s role in transforming idealized images of settler families from objects of purely regional memory into a national American family ideal.

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