The ETHS '58 Class Gift

Ed Koven recently did some research about the gift from our class, which resides in the Senior Court at ETHS.  It is called "The Ballerina". Following is a narrative, prepared by Ed, that identifies the sculptress and her work.


One of the best-kept half-century old secrets is the identity of the artist who made our 1958 gift to Evanston Township High School.  Some members of the ETHS class of 1958 were aware that the gift of the 75th ETHS graduating class was the sculpture of the dancer, but an examination of the sculpture and ETHS records failed to reveal the identity of the maker of this beautiful work.

The identity of the sculptor, Sylvia Shaw Judson of Lake Forest, was uncovered last year as the result of searching the Evanston Historical Society archives and finding it in the cover article of the 1959 ETHS Annual Report.  The article said the following:

The Class of 1958 had the privilege of purchasing what has become the featured attraction in the Senior Court, “Ballerina,” the bronze statue of a young dancer. . . .

The statue is a companion piece to “Violinist,” which was made as a memorial to the late Norman de Mille Ross of Evanston, radio personality, Olympic swimming champion,and father of Norman Ross, an ETHS alumnus and popular television personality.  “Violinist” is displayed at Ravinia Park.

Mrs. Judson was born in Chicago in 1897 and died in 1978.  Her father was the famous architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw, who built Ragdale in Lake Forest as their family home. He also designed the original Goodman Theater and Market Square in Lake Forest.

Garden sculpture was Mrs. Judson’s forte.  Her “The Little Garden” was in the Rose Garden of the White House.  Her other works were displayed in gardens and parks throughout the country, at Chicago’s Century of Progress and the world’s fairs in New York City and San Francisco.