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Governor James Brooks Ayers Robertson, 1919-1923

by Leonard D. McMurry

Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature
Dimensions: 25 height

Governor James Brooks Ayers Robertson, 1919-1923 by Leonard D. McMurry

The Artwork

James Brooks Ayers Robertson was born March 15, 1871, in Keokuk County, Iowa, and was educated in public schools. In 1893, he moved to Oklahoma and was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 1898. He held the following political offices: Lincoln County Attorney, 1900-1902; Judge of the Tenth Judicial District Of Oklahoma, 1909-1910; Member of the State Capitol Commission, 1911; Member of the Supreme Court Commission, 1911-1914; Governor of Oklahoma, January 13, 1919 to January 8, 1923; Democratic Presidential Elector-at-Large, 1932. He died at his home in Oklahoma City, on March 7, 1938.

The Artist

Known as Oklahoma’s own “Michelangelo”, Leonard McMurry was born to a family of prominent cotton farmers in the Texas panhandle. McMurry moved to Oklahoma in 1955 and then lived in Stilwell and Oklahoma City. Under the teachings of sculptors Carl Mose and Ivan Mestrovic, McMurry perfected his craft. His magnificent sculptures of Oklahoma icons can be seen across the state including the ‘89er statue on Couch Drive in Oklahoma City and the Praying Hands that grace the lawns of Oral Roberts University.

In accordance with Oklahoma’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1982, Leonard McMurry was commissioned to sculpt busts of 21 past Oklahoma Governors. The Hall of Governors exudes Oklahoman’s pride in her past legislative guardians. Regarding his works, McMurry states, “Each piece must have a soul, a living quality that’s far more important than just physical representation. A piece has to have guts: the strength, power, and dignity, that makes it a monument.” McMurry has accomplished that very feat within the grandiose Hall of Governors in which visitors may come face to face with naturalistic representation of Oklahoma leaders.