Sally Farnham was born in Ogdensburg, New York in 1869.  Although she had no formal training in art, her unusual ability to cut out anatomically correct silhouettes of people and animals from an early age demonstrated her artistic sensibility. In 1898 Sally Farnham married and moved to her husband’s family estate, Stepping Stones, in Great Neck, NY. She did not begin her career as a serious sculptor until the age of thirty-two. Frederick Remington, her contemporary, saw her ability to put life into her subjects and encouraged her early trials.  

Farnham's earliest works revolved around fine portrait busts of her society friends. By 1903, she was offered a $5,000 commission to create a fountain for the Baltimore garden of Col. Issac Emerson, founder of Bromo-Seltzer. Farnham won a competition to create a Civil War memorial—Spirit of Liberty, which was to be her most personal and rewarding creation. She was invited to create a series of large relief panels depicting the discovery, exploration and settlement of the New World. Designed to adorn the new Pan-American building in Washington, D.C., the piece was called the Frieze of the Discoverers, and the finished project earned her international acclaim. The finished panels led to further commissions from South American republics. In 1916 the Republic of Bolivia asked her to create a marble bust of Sucre and the Republic of Peru commissioned a similar bust of Unanue to be given for the Pan-American building's Hall of Patriots. In 1922, Irene Castle saw a work Farnham first exhibited at the 1915 National Academy of Design and asked her to enlarge it in marble for the grave of her husband and dancing partner, Vernon Castle. The work entitled, The End of the Day, located at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, is a quiet, yet powerful statement of grief and loss.

Sally Farnham continued to pursue her craft until her death in 1943.

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