Show Menu

Sketch for "Flying Wild Geese" (Alvan Macauley Memorial)


Dublin Core


Sketch for "Flying Wild Geese" (Alvan Macauley Memorial)


Drawing, American--20th century.
Elmwood Cemetery (Detroit, Mich.)
Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998


Graphite on tracing paper
16.75" x 13.75"

Atop a wooded hill overlooking a small pond in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery stands a memorial to the late attorney turned industrialist Alvan Macauley. Commissioned by his wife and son soon after his death in 1952, the sculpture reflects Macauley’s love of nature and wildlife. On a simple granite pedestal sit two bronze geese as they take off into flight. Beneath their bodies, the tips of swamp rushes bend under the weight of the birds’ wings.

According to the sculptor, waterfowl are a symbol of eternal life and this sculpture symbolizes “the ascendency of the soul no longer imprisoned by the body.” It is a fitting memorial to a man said to have deeply appreciated nature and “people who worked with their hands.”

In addition to its original commission by the Macauley family, Flying Wild Geese also serves as a memorial to two former faculty members at Alma College. Commissioned by an Alma College alumni committee, the sculpture is set on a glacial sandstone pedestal in the college’s Monteith Library mall. At the sculpture’s dedication in 1971, Fredericks stated that “the birds in flight express freedom of inquiry and symbolized Michigan and its environment.”

Found throughout the United States and the world, Flying Wild Geese is one of Marshall Fredericks’ most popular sculptures. Many corporations, universities, cultural institutions and private individuals have chosen one of these sculptures for their collections.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998


Marshall M. Fredericks Papers
Series VIII, Cabinet 1 Drawer 7 Folder 11


c. 1955


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






Graphite drawing



Drawing Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Graphite drawing

Physical Dimensions

16.75" x 13.75"

Social Bookmarking

Item Relations

This item has no relations.