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Sketch of lettering for "American Eagle (Ann Arbor War Memorial Eagle)"


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Sketch of lettering for "American Eagle (Ann Arbor War Memorial Eagle)"


Drawing, American--20th century
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998
University of Michigan--Football--Miscellanea.
University of Michigan—Sports


Colored pencil and graphite on tracing paper
13" x 16.5"

In 1945, a group of University of Michigan alumni petitioned the Board of Regents to rename Michigan Stadium in honor of legendary former football coach Fielding H. Yost. Although Yost played an integral role in the stadium’s design and construction, he discouraged the effort. Instead he suggested erecting a memorial at the stadium dedicated to the university’s war victims.

Numerous artists submitted proposals to the memorial committee, but Fredericks’ proposal best captured the spirit of Yost’s request. The proposed sculpture would depict a “monumental American eagle grasping in its talons the laurel wreath symbolizing the eternal protection of the honored memory of the war dead and …through dynamic forms and outlines represent the strength, courage and vitality of the young men and women to whom the memorial is dedicated.”

At the memorial’s unveiling in 1950, University of Michigan President Alexander G. Ruthven spoke of the monument’s significance, saying “It will always stand as evidence of our indebtedness to the gold star sons and daughters of Michigan who died that we might live as free men and women.”

A gift from the Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics, the memorial stands on the lawn near the southwest corner of the Ann Arbor, Michigan stadium. Cast in bronze, the one and a half ton eagle has a wingspan of twenty-four feet and rests on a granite base inscribed with the phrase “In memory of the men and women of the University of Michigan who gave their lives for their country.”

Fredericks cast several small-scale versions of American Eagle for cultural, educational and religious institutions throughout Michigan. Despite a reduction in size, the sculpture retains a sense of mass and power.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998


Marshall M. Fredericks Papers
Series VIII, Cabinet 1 Drawer 1 Folder 6


c. 1950


Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Archives.








Colored pencil and graphite on tracing paper



Drawing Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Colored pencil and graphite drawing

Physical Dimensions

13" x 16.5"

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