|Lincoln Life Mask by Leonard Wells Volk|
The 1880 US Census shows the Volks living at 36 (now 634) East 35th Street in Chicago, a stone's throw away from the Stephen A. Douglas tomb. It is only Leonard, his wife and Nora living in the family home now; Stephen has moved out to seek his fortune. The financial picture for the Volks must have improved - they now have a live-in servant, twenty two year old Augusta Meyer.
Leonard W. Volk, the sculptor, died suddenly at the Hotel Cascade in Osceola, Wis. at 9 o'clock yesterday morning of heart trouble.
Mr. Volk was remarkably well preserved for a man of his years and walked as strong and erect as a youth of 20. He was in the habit of spending the summer months in Wisconsin. He went away a little earlier than usual this year, and his friends in Chicago had no intimation that he was ill until word of his death came.
"Father died very suddenly," said Mrs. Nora Volk Colt, his daughter. "He had been failing, it is true ever since mother died in May but we supposed he had begun to improve and would be himself again. Six weeks ago he went to Osceola, Wis., his usual summer resort. At that time he is morning we received a dispatch stating that he had died very suddenly. We have none of the particulars of his death, but believe he must have died from heart failure.
Here is his death notice from the Chicago Daily Tribune:
and here is an article about his funeral from the Tribune of August 22, 1895:
I cannot emphasize enough that I have hardly scratched the surface of the life and works of Leonard Volk in this article. There is a tremendous amount of information available on the internet, and Volk's family papers reside at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. I am surprised that to date no one has written a biography of Volk. I wish I had the time, because Volk is a fascinating subject.
Leonard Wells Volk, a gifted sculptor who breathed life into cold stone - may he rest in peace.