Harbor Seal

Sylvia Shaw Judson (American, 1897-1978)
Harbor Seal
12 x 18 x 10 in.
Gift to the Library in memory of Helen Kuh Kuhns, 1962

Sylvia Shaw Judson grew up in Lake Forest and was the daughter of well-known architect Howard Van Doren Shaw and the poet Frances (Wells) Shaw. Judson studied at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago on and off between 1915 and 1918 and later in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Her works have been exhibited in museums, at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition (1933), and at the New York World’s Fair (1939). Shaw’s work can be found in the collection of the White House, in the offices of the President of the Philippines, and at the Massachusetts State House.

Sylvia Shaw Judson received much posthumous attention in the late 1990s when her Bird Girl sculpture (1938) appeared on the cover of the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” by John Berendt. The sculpture also appeared in the opening scene of the movie with the same title.

Harbor Seal is located outside the Library’s lower level entrance, in the courtyard pool. The sculpture was donated to the Library in memory of Helen Kuh Kuhns, a former president of the Library Board of Trustees.