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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423

While taking photographs of the fountain last week, I attempted to capture every angle. I zoomed in on the nooks and crannies, photographed the faces of each figure, paying particular attention to woman in the middle, the “Life” figure. Despite my overt attention to the fountain – climbing onto the landscaped stage it rests on – a man sitting on a bench stopped me: “Did you know Abraham Lincoln spoke over there?” He pointed me in the direction of the Post Office. Here I was, completely enraptured by the fountain that I was trying to document, and he was pointing me in a different direction.

The man was seated directly in front of the fountain. If he looked straight ahead, he would have been making eye contact with the woman carved into the center of the fountain. Instead, he was thinking of Abraham Lincoln’s speaking engagement that may or may not have taken place several blocks from where we were standing.

Uploaded Image Man looking at the fountain, yet not seeing it at all

In learning more about the woman carved into the fountain, I was able to uncover two other important women. Enid Yandell, the first woman accepted into the National Sculpture Society of America, was strong enough to enter a male-dominated, invitation only competition – without an invitation. Carrie Mathilde Brown was an inspiring member of the Brown family whose earthly existence was sought to be memorialized. Hopefully, someone will read this account of the fountain and its history. Maybe you are curious and will wander downtown. If you do, stop in front of the woman in the fountain. Look into her eyes. You might be surprised but what you see looking back at you.

Uploaded Image

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The Woman Who Lives Downtown by Marissa Faerber

History of the fountain

Reception of the Fountain

Works Cited - Carrie Fountain