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Abner Crossman

Born: June 14, 1846, St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Married Marietta Thomas in 1869. Died: December 2, 1932, Chicago, Illinois.

Abner Crossman was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, on June 14, 1846, to John C. and Sarah T. Crossman. He married Marietta Thomas in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1869.

A watercolor artist, Crossman created a number of landscapes and pastoral scenes. He was a member of the Chicago Watercolor Club. In 1882 Crossman formed a design firm with Joseph F. Sturdy in Chicago. The firm gained a reputation for its furnishings and decorations, murals, and wall hangings.  

Crossman was hired in 1902 to replace murals in the Kansas State Capitol dome. Artist Jerome Fedeli had been hired by members of the Populist controlled Kansas Legislature in 1898 to create the murals. Fedeli used a conventional Greek design in with maidens encircling the area between the fifth floor and the railed level of the dome.

Rotunda mural today

After the Republicans regained control of the legislature and governorship, support grew to replace the Populists' artwork. An appropriation of $7,600 was passed in 1902 and Crossman his firm were contracted to replace the "scantily dressed girls" with the allegorical paintings of fully clothed subjects.

Crossman completed some of the work on the murals himself as well as directed his staff members' work. The four murals, painted at the base of the dome, are Religion, Knowledge and Temperance; Plenty; Peace; and Power. His firm also designed the semi-relief statues and state seals located below the paintings.

Crossman died in Chicago, Illinois, on December 2, 1939.

Entry: Crossman, Abner

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2017

Date Modified: January 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.