Joseph Scott

Historical Background

Carl Romanelli/Cataldo Papaleo, 1967. 8'h x 2'8"w x 2'4"d. North side of County Courthouse along Grand Avenue.
Although a resident of Pasadena, Joseph Scott (1867-1958) was so prominent in the civic affairs of Los Angeles that a grateful citizenry gave him the title of "Mr. Los Angeles."

The son of an Irish Catholic mother and a Scottish Presbyterian father, he was raised as a Catholic. Because of religious discrimination, he left England at age 22 and came to the United States. After working six months as a laborer in a Massachusetts paper mill he obtained a position at St. Buenaventure's College in Allegheny, New York, teaching rhetoric and English literature. Scott moved to Los Angeles three and a half years later, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. As a lawyer, he was involved in several highly publicized cases, including participation in the defense of the McNamara Brothers, who were accused of blowing up the Times building in 1910. As a community leader, Scott was a member of the Los Angeles School Board (1904-15), President of the Chamber of Commerce (1910-21), a founder of the Southwest Museum (1907) and a member of the Museum's board of trustees for 50 years, chairman of the local draft exemption board during World War I, a founder and then president of the Community Chest (1932-35), and after World War II, a charter member of the Advisory Board of the local chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He was also involved in Catholic activities and helped form the Knights of Columbus in Southern California (1902). In addition, he was Dean Emeritus of Loyola Law School. In recognition of his services, he was decorated by three Popes and received numerous honors from Catholic organizations. Scott strongly supported the Irish Republic and was elected president of the American League for an Undivided Ireland, and was permanent chairman of the International Irish Congress. Active in the Republican Party, Scott nominated Herbert Hoover for President at the 1928 Republican Convention.

Carl Romanelli was commissioned in 1962 by admirers of Scott to execute the statue. A $100 a plate dinner raised enough money to finance a full scale clay model, which Romanelli designed in 1963 after reviewing nearly 100 photographs of Scott. However, Romanelli never prepared the plaster mold for the bronze casting, because only $25,000 of the estimated $40,000 necessary to complete the work was raised. The final casting was done by Cataldo Papaleo, chief sculptor of the Classic Bronze Corporation in El Monte. Papaleo also altered Romanelli's design by changing a single breasted into a double breasted suit, excluding texture on the vest, removing an extended index finger on the right hand, and eliminating an unruly lock of hair over the forehead. Because of these changes, Romanelli refused to sign the work when it was unveiled in 1967. Papaleo is therefore identified as the sculptor in a plaque on the Romanelli designed granite base. The bronze statue facing Grand Avenue from the front of the County Courthouse, portrays Scott at about age 60, giving a speech. His right arm is extended, as it often was when he emphasized a point.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1998.

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