Benedict's sculpture to be added to Truman Library

Gwen Chamberlain
From left, Faith and Dexter Benedict, and Donald and Christine Wertman with the bust of Justice Robert H. Jackson, that will be presented to the Truman Presidential Library Oct. 29.

Once again, local sculptor Dexter Benedict has created a bust of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson. This is the second bust, and the third sculpture of the Jamestown native that Benedict has created.

In 2013, a bust was installed in the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. after an eight-foot tall sculpture of Jackson by Benedict was installed in Jamestown nearly 20 years ago.

The new bust will be presented to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Mo. Oct. 29, says Donald Wertman of Hall, who with his wife, Christine, commissioned the newest work of art.

Wertman is COO of Seedway LLC, vice president of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, and sits on the Finger Lakes Health (FLH) Board of Directors.

Wertman says Justice Jackson’s bust should be displayed in the Truman Library because Truman appointed Jackson as the Chief Prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.

“I knew Dexter had done several busts of Jackson, and I felt this would be appropriate,” said Wertman, who joined Benedict in hosting a reception to display the work of art in Benedict’s Baker Road studio Sept. 25.

Jackson earned a sterling reputation as a lawyer in the early 20th century, rose in political power in the state, and was urged to run for Governor in the 1930s. As a strong supporter of the New Deal, he was named U.S. Attorney General by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, and then appointed to the Supreme Court in 1941.

Later, he was the leading Justice in the highly significant 1954 Supreme Court decision opposing racial segregation, Brown vs. the Board of Education. He remains the last Supreme Court Justice never to graduate from law school, having learned the profession as an apprentice before passing the bar, and always referred to himself as a simple “county seat lawyer.”

In creating a bronze casting, Benedict works first in clay to develop the form and then, using the lost wax process, casts the work in his foundry