Statue of Jefferson Davis (Austin, Texas)

Jefferson Davis is a statue depicting the American-Confederate politician of the same name by Pompeo Coppini. The sculpture was commissioned in 1919 by George W. Littlefield to be included in the Littlefield Fountain on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It was installed on the university's South Mall from 1933 to 2015, when it was relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Texas.

Statue of Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis Statue by Pompeo Coppini.jpg
The statue in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 2018
ArtistPompeo Coppini
Year1933 (1933)
SubjectJefferson Davis
Dimensions260 cm (102 in)
LocationDolph Briscoe Center for American History, Austin, Texas, United States
OwnerUniversity of Texas at Austin


In 1919, University of Texas regent George W. Littlefield donated funds to pay for the construction of a "Memorial Gateway" at the south entrance to the university's campus that would honor the Confederate dead from the Civil War. He hired San Antonio-based Italian-born sculptor Pompeo Coppini to design the monument, which was to include a number of statues of notable figures from the history of Texas and the American South. The memorial was ultimately redesigned as the Littlefield Fountain and instead dedicated to the university's students and alumni who had died in the Great War (now known as World War I).[1]

As part of the memorial project, in the 1920s Coppini sculpted bronze statues of Jefferson Davis and five other Texan and Confederate notables selected by Littlefield, which he intended to display around the fountain. However, as construction on the memorial proceeded in the early 1930s, campus architect Paul Cret decided to instead install the six statues along the university's South Mall, where they were placed in 1933 as the construction of the fountain complex was completed.[1]

Controversy and relocationEdit

Beginning in 2015 and accelerating in 2017, a national controversy grew over the prominent positions of monuments and memorials to the Confederacy in many public spaces across the United States, and particularly in the American South.[2] In this context, the statues of Confederate notables along the university's South Mall that Coppini had designed for the Littlefield Fountain attracted increased public criticism.

In March 2015, UT's student government passed a resolution calling for the removal of Jefferson Davis from the South Mall.[3] That August, the university in fact removed the statues of both Davis and Woodrow Wilson from the Mall and placed them in storage, despite a lawsuit from the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which failed to persuade the Texas Supreme Court to block the plan.[4][5] Davis was later relocated to the university's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, where it has been displayed since 2017.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Jim Nicar (May 2001). "Symbolism Amok". The Alcalde. Emmis Communications. 89 (5): 79. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Kenning, Chris (August 15, 2017). "Confederate Monuments Are Coming Down Across the United States". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  3. ^ McCann, Mac (May 29, 2015). "Written in Stone: History of racism lives on in UT monuments". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Haurwitz, Ralph K.M. (August 30, 2015). "Crews remove Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson statues from UT Main Mall". Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on September 23, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  5. ^ "Jefferson Davis Statue Comes Down at University of Texas". NPR. Archived from the original on July 31, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  6. ^ "Jefferson Davis statue returns to University of Texas". The Dallas Morning News. A. H. Belo. 7 April 2017. ISSN 1553-846X. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  7. ^ "Jefferson Davis is Back at UT". Texas Monthly. Austin, Texas. 17 April 2017. ISSN 0148-7736. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.