Fountain is a memorial fountain located in
President's Park in Washington, D.C., in the United States.
Dedicated in October 1913, it commemorates the deaths of Archibald
Butt (the military aide to President William Howard Taft) and Francis
Davis Millet (a journalist and painter, and Butt's close friend and
housemate). Both men died during the sinking of the
RMS Titanic on
April 15, 1912.
1 Genesis of the memorial fountain
1.1 Building the memorial
2 About the memorial
3 See also
6 External links
Genesis of the memorial fountain
Archibald Butt in 1909.
Archibald Butt was a Captain in the
United States Army
United States Army Quartermaster
Corps who had served in
The Philippines from 1898 to 1904; Washington,
D.C., from 1904 to 1906, and
Cuba from 1906 to 1908. Theodore
Roosevelt had become acquainted with Butt's logistics and animal
husbandry work in the Philippines and was impressed by his hard work
and thoughtfulness. Taft had served as chair of the Second
Philippine Commission (the body which was organizing a civilian
government in the country in the wake of the Spanish–American War
and the first battles of the Philippine–American War) from 1900 to
1901 and as
Governor-General of the Philippines
Governor-General of the Philippines from 1901 to 1904.
Taft knew Butt well from their time together overseas. Roosevelt
asked Butt to serve as his military aide in April 1908. When Taft
became president in March 1909, he asked Butt to stay on as military
aide. Butt proved to have strong negotiating skills and a good head
for numbers, which enabled him to become Taft's de facto chief
negotiator on federal budget issues. In 1911, Butt was promoted to
the rank of major.
Butt lived in a large mansion at 2000 G Street NW (now demolished).
Since about 1910, Butt and Millet had lived together in the house.
(Millet's wife, Lily, resided in the Millet home in Italy.) "Millet,
my artist friend who lives with me" was Butt's designation for his
companion. They were known for throwing spartan but large parties that
were attended by members of Congress, justices of the Supreme Court,
and President Taft himself. Newspapers characterized the intense,
deep friendship the men shared as a "Damon and Pythias"
By 1912, Taft's first term was coming to an end. Roosevelt, who had
fallen out with Taft, was known to be considering a run for president
against him. Close to both men and fiercely loyal, Butt began to
suffer from depression and exhaustion. Millet (himself one of
Taft's circle) asked Taft to give him a leave of absence to recuperate
before the presidential primaries began. Taft agreed and ordered Butt
to go on vacation. Butt left on a six-week vacation to Europe on
March 1, 1912, accompanied by Millet. Butt booked passage on the
RMS Titanic for his return to the United States. He boarded the
Titanic on April 10, 1912; Millet boarded the ship at Cherbourg,
France, later that same day. Butt and Millet were playing cards on the
night of April 14 in the first-class smoking room when the Titanic
struck an iceberg. The ship sank two and half hours later, with a
loss of over 1,500 lives.
Both Butt and Millet went down with the Titanic. Butt's remains were
never found. Millet's body was recovered on April 27, and he was
buried in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Taft was devastated by Butt's death. When he learned Butt had not
survived, he "broke down and wept, 'his whole body was shaken with
convulsive sobs'." On May 2, 1912, a memorial service was held in
the Butt family home in Atlanta, Georgia. Taft spoke at the service,
almost breaking down twice as he said:
If Archie could have selected a time to die he would have chosen the
one God gave him. His life was spent in self–sacrifice, serving
others. His forgetfulness of self had become a part of his nature.
Everybody who knew him called him Archie. I couldn't prepare anything
in advance to say here. I tried, but couldn't. He was too near me. He
was loyal to my predecessor, Mr. Roosevelt, who selected him to be
military aide, and to me he had become as a son or a brother.
A second ceremony was held in Washington, D.C., on May 5, during which
Taft broke down and wept—bringing his eulogy to an abrupt end.
Building the memorial
Francis Davis Millet
Francis Davis Millet shortly before his death in 1912.
On May 16, 1912, Senator
Augustus Octavius Bacon
Augustus Octavius Bacon of Georgia submitted
a resolution in the U.S. Senate authorizing private persons to
construct a memorial to Butt and Millet on federally owned land
somewhere in the District of Columbia. Bacon argued that Butt (who was
an aide to the president) and Millet (who was vice chair of the United
States Commission of Fine Arts at the time of his death) were both
public servants who deserved to be memorialized separately from the
rest of the dead. Bacon also said that a number of memorials in the
city had been financed by private dollars, and the Butt-Millet
memorial would be no different. As originally introduced, the
resolution barred the memorial from being placed on the grounds of the
Capitol, Library of Congress, or White House. Bacon asked that the
resolution be adopted by the Senate immediately, but Senator William
Borah objected and the resolution was referred to the Committee on the
Library (which had the authority to accept any work of the fine art on
behalf of Congress and designate a location for its placement).
Plans for erecting a memorial to Butt and Millet began shortly after
the introduction of the Senate resolution. Taft agreed to chair the
memorial committee. Taft's personal secretary, Charles D. Hilles,
and his military aide, Colonel Spencer Cosby, led the fund-raising on
behalf of the committee. Charles J. Bell of the American Security
and Trust Company was the treasurer. Members of the foreign
diplomatic corps and several high government officials had already
donated several thousand dollars to the memorial fund by mid-May.
Taft himself had made the first contribution. At this point in
The Ellipse (the southern part of President's Park) was chosen
for the site of the memorial. However, the memorial committee was
thinking only of erecting a bronze tablet.
An attempt to pass the resolution on June 8 failed after Senator
Porter J. McCumber
Porter J. McCumber objected to its passage. The committee
favorably reported the resolution on August 10, 1912, and the Senate
adopted the resolution on August 12. The House of Representatives
received the committee's report on August 22, and passed the
legislation the following day. As enacted, the resolution removed
the restriction on the memorial's location. Taft signed the
legislation into law on August 24.
During work on the congressional legislation, the memorial commission
altered its plans. Despite press reports that the memorial would be a
bronze tablet, a fund-raising letter issued in May 1912 by the
memorial commission said the memorial's final form had not been
chosen. That changed in early June, when the commission decided to
add a fountain to the tablet. The memorial commission had also
settled on Thomas Hastings and
Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French as the memorial's
designers. By late August 1912, the commission eliminated the
tablet in favor of just a fountain. By April 1913, the memorial
commission had added a shaft with two bas-relief figures—one
representing chivalry (Butt) and one representing art (Millet).
By law, both the President and the Commission of Fine Arts had to
approve the location and design of the memorial. Both approvals
were given, and work on the foundation for the fountain began on June
18, 1913. Just over $3,000 was spent constructing the memorial
fountain. Hastings and French donated their services.
Initial press reports in 1912 indicated that Taft planned an elaborate
dedication ceremony for the memorial. But Taft was no longer president
by late 1913, having lost the presidential election to Woodrow Wilson.
Fountain was dedicated without ceremony on
October 25, 1913.
Among the donors to the memorial were John Dustin Archbold, Henry
Bacon, Daniel Burnham, Arno B. Cammerer, Champ Clark, Kenyon Cox,
Frank Miles Day, Theodore N. Ely, William Corcoran Eustis, Charles
Lang Freer, Henry Clay Frick, Cass Gilbert, Eugene Hale, Henry Lee
Higginson, Samuel Isham, Jean Jules Jusserand, Seth Low, Henry Rutgers
Marshall, Gari Melchers, Count Helmuth von Moltke, Charles Nagel,
Frederick Law Olmsted, William Church Osborn, Charles A. Platt, Henry
Kirke Porter, David F. Sellers, Henry L. Stimson, Louis Comfort
Tiffany, Francis E. Warren, George P. Wetmore, Post Wheeler, George W.
Wickersham, Blanton Winship, and John Sharp Williams.
About the memorial
Detail of the inscription on the memorial fountain.
Fountain is located in the northwestern
portion of the Ellipse, at the western junction of Ellipse Road NW and
E Street NW. The
First Division Monument
First Division Monument is to the northwest,
and the south lawn of the
White House is across the street to the
north and northeast.
Fountain is 12 feet (3.7 m)
high. An octagonal grey granite base supports an 8
feet (2.4 m) wide bowl of golden brown Tennessee marble.
A grey granite Neoclassical column rises from the center of the
bowl. Two figures in low bas-relief are depicted, one on the north
and one on the south side of the column. The northern figure of a
woman with paint brush and palette, represents the fine arts. The
southern figure of a man in armor and helmet, holding a shield,
represents military valor. Four globes in the bowl surround the
granite column and emit water, which cascades over the edge of the
bowl into a shallow receptacle in the grey granite base. The
fountain bowl was designed to be a source of drinking water for horses
used by park police patrols.
An inscription around the lip of the bowl reads: "In memory of Francis
Davis Millet – 1846–1912 – and Archibald Willingham Butt –
1865–1912. This monument has been erected by their friends with the
sanction of Congress."
List of public art in Washington, D.C., Ward 2
^ a b c "Butt, Archibald Willingham DeGraffenreid," in The
Encyclopedia of Louisville, p. 150.
^ "Major Archibald Butt." New York Times. April 16, 1912. Accessed
^ Gould, p. 208.
^ Bromley, p. 52.
^ "Maj. Butt's Home Sold." Washington Post. November 22, 1912.
^ Brewster, p. 30.
^ Davenport-Hines, Richard. "The History Page: Unsinkable Love." The
Daily. March 20, 2012. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ "Millet Planned Trip." Washington Post. April 18, 1912.
^ Abbott, p. xi–x.
^ Garrison, p. 89.
^ "Major Butt on Sick Leave." New York Times. March 1, 1912.
^ Lynch, p. 84.
^ Schemmel, p. 148.
^ "Millet's Body Found." Washington Post. April 28, 1912; "Funeral
Services for Millet." New York Times. May 2, 1912.
^ Quoted in Stephenson, p. 219.
^ Quote in Mowbray, p. xvi.
^ "Taft in Tears as He Lauds Major Butt." New York Times. May 6, 1912.
^ Tompkins and Boucher, p. 12.
^ a b "Asks
Memorial Site." Washington Post. May 17, 1912.
^ a b c d e f g "
Titanic Dead." Washington Post. October
^ a b c d "Butt-Millet Memorial." New York Times. May 31, 1912.
^ a b c The
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 5. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ "Butt and Millet Tribute." Washington Post. June 9, 1912.
^ "Favors Butt-Millet Shaft." Washington Post. August 13, 1912.
^ "For Butt-Millet
Titanic Memorial." New York Times. August 23, 1912.
^ a b c "Deadlock Keeps Congress Sitting." New York Times. August 25,
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 6. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ a b c Committee on the Library, p. 1. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ "Monument to Maj. Butt." Washington Post. April 13, 1913.
^ Committee on the Library, p. 2. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ "Monument to Butt Soon." New York Times. June 19, 1913.
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 7. Accessed 2012-05-18.
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 13-14. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ a b The
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 11. Accessed 2012-05-18.
^ Evelyn, Dickson, and Ackerman, p. 182.
^ a b c "For Butt-Millet Memorial." New York Times. October 24, 1913.
^ a b Carrier, p. 88.
^ a b The
Fountain in Memory of..., p. 9-10. Accessed 2012-05-18.
President's Park (White House): Explore the Southern Trail". U.S.
National Park Service. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
Abbott, Lawrence F. "Introduction." In Butt, Archibald Willingham. The
Letters of Archie Butt, Personal Aide to President Roosevelt. Lawrence
F. Abbott, ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1924.
Brewster, Hugh. Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class
Passengers and Their World. New York: Random House, 2012.
Carrier, Thomas J. Washington D.C.: A Historical Walking Tour.
Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 1999.
Committee on the Library. Joint
Memorial to Maj. Archibald W. Butt and
Francis Davis Millet. To accompany S.J. Resolution 108. Rept. No. 866.
62d Cong., 2d sess. June 8, 1912.
Evelyn, Douglas E.; Dickson, Paul; and Ackerman, S.J. On This Spot:
Pinpointing the Past in
Washington, D.C. 3rd rev. ed. Sterling, Va.:
Capital Books, 2008. ISBN 1-933102-70-5
Fountain in Memory of Francis Davis Millet, Archibald Willingham
Butt. Washington, D.C.: [no publisher listed], 1913.
Garrison, Webb B. A Treasury of
Titanic Tales. Nashville, Tenn:
Rutledge Hill Press, 1998.
Lynch, Don. Titanic: An Illustrated History. New York: Hyperion, 1993.
Schemmel, William. Georgia Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside
Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot
Stephenson, George M. American History Since 1865. New York: Harper
& Bros., 1939.
Tompkins, Sally K. and Boucher, Jack E. A Quest for Grandeur: Charles
Moore and the Federal Triangle. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian
Institution Press, 1993.
"Explore the Southern Trail."
President's Park (White House). National
Capital Region. National Park Service.
First class facilities
Second and Third class facilities
Changes in safety practices
Legends and myths
Lifeboat No. 1
Wreck of Titanic
Edward J. Smith (Captain)
Henry Tingle Wilde (Chief Officer)
William McMaster Murdoch
William McMaster Murdoch (First Officer)
Charles H. Lightoller (Second Officer)
Herbert Pitman (Third Officer)
Joseph G. Boxhall (Fourth Officer)
Harold G. Lowe (Fifth Officer)
James Paul Moody
James Paul Moody (Sixth Officer)
Joseph Bell (Machine Room Manager)
William Denton Cox
Alfred Frank Evans
John Jacob Astor IV
David John Bowen
Walter Donald Douglas
Edith Corse Evans
Sidney Leslie Goodwin
Charles Melville Hays
Edward Austin Kent
Joseph Philippe Lemercier Laroche
Francis Davis Millet
Harry Markland Molson
Eino Viljami Panula
W. T. Stead
John Borland Thayer Jr.
Frank M. Warren, Sr.
George Dennick Wick
George Dunton Widener
Harry Elkins Widener
George Henry Wright
Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson
Margaret "Molly" Brown
Helen Churchill Candee
Charlotte Drake Cardeza
Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon
Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon
Ethel Flora Fortune
Archibald Gracie IV
Frank John William Goldsmith
Henry S. Harper
Margaret Bechstein Hays
J. Bruce Ismay
Eleanor Ileen Johnson
Michel Marcel Navratil
Arthur Godfrey Peuchen
Marjorie Newell Robb
Noël Leslie, Countess of Rothes
Frederic Kimber Seward
Eloise Hughes Smith
Ella Holmes White
R. Norris Williams
Marie Grice Young
Memorials and monuments to the RMS Titanic
Engine Room Heroes (Liverpool)
Straus Park (New York City)
Titanic (New York City)
Titanic (Washington, D.C.)
Fountain (Washington, D.C.)
Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan (1898)
A Night to Remember (book)
Saved from the Titanic
Saved from the Titanic (1912)
In Nacht und Eis
In Nacht und Eis (1912)
A Night to Remember (1958)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)
Secrets of the Titanic (1986)
The Legend of the Titanic
The Legend of the Titanic (1999)
Titanic: The Legend Goes On (2000)
Ghosts of the Abyss
Ghosts of the Abyss (2003)
Titanic II (2010)
Titanic: The Complete Story (1994)
No Greater Love (1996)
"A Flight to Remember" (Futurama) (1999)
Titanic: Blood and Steel (2012)
Titanic (It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down)" (folk song)
The Sinking of the
Titanic (music composition)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (musical)
"My Heart Will Go On" (Celine Dion song)
"Nearer, My God, to Thee" (song)
Titanic: Adventure Out of Time (1996)
Titanic: Honor and Glory (TBA)
SeaCity Museum (Southampton)
Titanic Museum (Branson, Missouri)
Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (Halifax)
Titanic Quarter, Belfast
Cape Race, Newfoundland
Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Mount Olivet Cemetery (Halifax)
White Star Line
Titanic Historical Society
Women and children first