The Connor family emigrated to Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA in 1888. Jerome’s life in America was to go through a number of distinctive phases before his return to Ireland in 1925.
Massachusetts and New York City
In about 1890 Connor’s father died, and Jerome left Holyoke for Springfield, Massachusetts, where he began training as a sculptor.
Roycroft In 1899 he moved to Elbert Hubbard’s Arts and crafts colony, “Roycroft”, in Aurora, New York. Using the name Saint Gerome he produced pottery, metalwork and sculpture. He was eventually recognised as the colony’s sculptor in residence. While living at Roycroft he married Anne Donohue, a bookbinder at the colony She was the daughter of a fellow Kerryman. They had one daughter. Syracuse In 1902 the Connors moved to Syracuse, New York, where Jerome became head of the metal shop at Gustav Stickley’s United Crafts factory, manufacturing Arts & Crafts furniture.
In 1903 the Kirkpatrick Memorial Fountain in Washington Square Park in Syracuse was commissioned. The general design was decreed in the will of William Kirkpatrick Jr. as:
…a memorial fountain the general design of such fountain to represent or symbolize the Onondaga Indians discovering to the white men the salt springs as related in the historical narrative of the relations of the Jesuits and later by the historian Parkman – I do this to perpetuate the memory of my father the late Doctor William Kirkpatrick and his long relations with the early history of the Onondaga Salt Springs.(2)
Connor produced two figures, based on models in the local Onondaga Iroquois reservation. He completed them in 1904, and was to continue his association with the Onondaga tribe for many years. The memorials have since been vandalised and removed from the park, but the maquette for the torso of one figure was cast for the Jerome Connor Trust in 1991. At about this time Connor was commissioned by the U.S. Congress to make a memorial to General James Shields. The bust was erected in St Mary’s Cemetery, Carrollton, Missouri. Shields was an Irish-born army officer who rose to the rank of Brigadier General, served in the Mexican and Civil Wars and was later a Senator for three different states: Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.
Washington D.C. In 1910 the Connors moved to Washington D.C. Much of Jerome’s major monumental work can still be seen in this area.
Soon after arriving in Washington, Connor was commissioned to create a statue of Archbishop John Carroll (1735-1815), founder of Georgetown University in the city. The bronze statue was unveiled in May 1912.
(1) Jacqueline T Lynch Melzar Mosman – Soldier, Sculptor, and Craftsman (2) Welcome to Syracuse’s First Neighborhood Washington Square