Father Francis P. Duffy

  • Sculptor: Charles Keck
  • Dedicated: 1937
  • Medium and size: Overall 17 feet; bronze figure (9 feet) in front of a granite cross (11 feet)
  • Location: Broadway and Seventh Avenue, between 46th and 47th Streets
  • Subway: 1 to 50th Street


Chemical Warfare

In the photo below, men are wearing masks designed to forestall the devastating effects of the poisonous gas first used on battlefields during the “Great War.” The number of variations suggests how difficult it was to neutralize the effects of the gas.

Gas Masks WWI

Duffy described the effects of gas on the troops:

The men were prompt in putting on their masks as soon as the presence of gas was recognized, but it was found impossible to keep them on indefinitely and at the same time keep up the defense of the sector. By about midnight some of the men were sick as a result of the gas, and as the night wore on, one after another they began to feel its effects on their eyes, to cry, and gradually to go blind, so that by dawn a considerable number ... were sitting by the Luneville road, completely blinded, and waiting their turn at an ambulance. --Duffy, Father Duffy's Story, 1919

 What Do the Details Tell Us?

Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide has a long discussion of the details of Duffy (the book, the pins on his collar, the helmet, etc.), and how those details affect our interpretation of the man represented.

Charles Keck 

Keck (1875-1951) a native New Yorker, was a student of Augustus Saint Gaudens and Philip Martiny. He studied in Greece, Florence and Paris. His notable works include Stonewall Jackson and Lewis and Clark in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Manhattan has Letters and Science flanking the entrance to Columbia University, 1915 and 1925 (116th Street and Broadway), Father Duffy, 1937, Governor Alfred E. Smith with an accompanying relief, 1946 (Catherine Street between Monroe and Cherry), and Abraham Lincoln, 1948 (Madison Avenue near 133rd Street).

Brooklyn has the the Genius of Islam, 1900 (Brooklyn Museum), the 61st District War Memorial, 1922 (Greenwood Playground), and the Brooklyn War Memorial, 1951 (Cadman Plaza).

War Memorials in Manhattan

Manhattan memorials to soldiers, police, and firefighters are discussed in detail, with scads of illustrations, in Dianne L. Durante’s From Portraits to Puddles: New York Memorials from the Civil War to the World Trade Center Memorial (Reflecting Absence)Illustrated in Duffy:

  • Civil War memorials: Sherman, FarragutAlexander Stuart Webb (City College, on Convent Avenue between 138th and 139th Sts.)
  • World War I memorials: Philip Martiny’s Abingdon Square Memorial (intersection of West 12th St., Eighth Ave., and Hudson St.) and Chelsea Park Memorial (Ninth Ave. at 28th St.); Whitney’s Inwood War Memorial(intersection of Broadway, St. Nicholas Ave., and 168th St.); Burt Johnson’s Flanders Field Memorial (DeWitt Clinton Park, northwest corner of Eleventh Ave. and 52nd St.); Karl Ilava’s 107th Infantry Monument (Fifth Ave. at 67th St.)
  • Vietnam War: New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial (55 Water St., between Coenties Slip and Broad St.)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante