Paul Goodloe McIntire: A Man with a Monumental Mission

Paul Goodloe McIntire: A Man with a Monumental Mission


Paul Goodloe McIntire answered the call of the Daily Progress. His involvement with the Lewis and Clark monument began his trend of philanthropic giving in Charlottesville. His gifts came shortly after many of the national industrialists such as J.P. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Russel Sage formed charitable foundations to finance large scale benefits throughout America. These men saw the "value of culture and education as a means to improve the quality of life in an increasingly technological world, and they shared religious commitments, a sense of community order, and a concept of economic justice. When they gave, they frequently did so amidst much fanfare and publicity thereby providing inspiration for less wealthy civic minded like McIntire who in turn, made smaller but very substantive public gifts." (Parks, E-2) The influence of this wealthy group of individuals with whom he likely had contact obviously made an impact on McIntire especially since these wealthy men were, "avid supporters of civic beautification and the arts" and often limited their giving to "hometowns or localities where their wealth had been earned". (Parks E-2) Specifically, the sculpture movement promoted by the National Sculpture Society in the early part of the twentieth century likely appealed to these philanthropists. Indeed, even a small scale philanthropist such as McIntire felt the heavy influence of the figurative style and historical and allegorical bents of the National Sculpture Society and its benefactors. (Parks E-3)

McIntire coupled this historical influence with his own knowledge and personal experience and poured it into his philanthropy in Charlottesville. He gained this knowledge due in part to the geographic locations of his financial endeavors. McInitre made his fortune through Chicago and New York Stock Exchanges. McIntire's residence in Chicago conincided with the famous Exposition that cemented the role of sculpture in the City Beautiful movement. Although the records do not explicitly list the extent of this influence, it is likely that he visited the fair and was impressed by sculptures displayed there. (Parks E-4)

Though the Exposition in Chicago may have sparked McIntire's attention in sculpture, his time in New York probably increased his interest in public art. During his time in New York, the National Sculpture Society erected many public monuments and architechtural sculptures. Due to the Society's efforts, public monuments with historical and allegorial themes appeared ubiquitous to city members. McIntire's interest did not remain at an observatory level - while in New York, McIntire began to purchase works of art with historical themes. (Parks E-4)

When he retired to his hometown of Charlottesville, McIntire may have wished to make improvements in his hometown that equaled those made to New York City and Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA for much of his philanthropy focused on civic beautification, beginning with the Lewis and Clark monument. (Parks E-4) After the editorial ran in the Daily Progress, Paul Goodloe McIntire asked for the assistance of Duncan Smith, a Charlottesville native in New York, to commission a prominent member of the National Sculpture Society to execute his gifts of sculpture to the Charlottesville community. Smith, a member of the National Sculpture Society of Mural Painters, "no doubt knew of the sculpters he recommended through professional connections for he selected men of considerable talent and growing reputations". (Parks E-5) In addition, McIntire chose W.O. Watson, the former employer of his youth, to handle all of the business details. As his business manager, Watson maintained an intricate balance between a sometimes impatient McIntire, the egos of various sculptures, and the wishes of citizens' groups and municipal administrators. (Parks E-6)

McIntire's contributions must be viewed within the context of his reputation within the Charlottesville community. His reputation rested on the idea that he was the hometown boy who had made it in the big city. McIntire grew up in Charlottesville and even attended the University of Virginia for less than a semester. Additionally, his mother was Catherine Clark McIntire, a member of the prominent Charlottesville family that held land under grants received in colonial times and produced George Rogers and William Clark. (Parks E-3) Thus when he retired to Charlottesville, the University of Virginia, and the surrounding community hoped to gain something directly from his long-standing interest in them - given his retirement. (Wilkerson 17) Wilkerson observed that he probably felt "too conspicous in Charlottesville where [his] every movement attracted attention and comment. (Wilkerson 17) This suggests that McIntire wavered between two models of philanthropic giving - that of his reputation in the community and his desire to continue the trends begun by well-known philanthropists such as Rockefeller and Carnegie. McIntire acknowledged his frustration in a conversation with Mrs. Joseph Gibson,stating he felt that members of the community did not adequately appreciate his benevolent actions. (ACHS undated record)

Hence, his contribution to the making of the Lewis and Clark monument was not unusual. He seemed to reconcile his conflicting interests by financially supporting the monument. By whole heartedly supporting the monument, he could continue in the "well established tradition of civic philanthropy of this period" as well as placate a restless community. Indeed, his purpose for the Lewis and Clark monument fit directly within this model: it was to be an "inspiration to the students and community and an honor to the expedition". (Observer 4/17-23/1988)

Introduction/City Beautiful/Origins/Paul G. McIntire/Process/Interpretations/Conclusion/Works Cited