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John Rogers Group, Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations

John Rogers Taking the Oath


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This Rogers Group, named Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations,  shows a Union soldier,  issuing the Oath of Allegiance to a Confederate woman so she can get rations from the Union Army. She tenderly gazes at her child while an African American child (presumably a former slave) watches.

This sculpture is from Rogers’s well-known Civil War series. Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations illustrates the hardships endured by the masses throughout the Civil War.

The New York Historical Society and Yale University Art Gallery both have this sculpture in their collection.

Modeled in clay by Rogers himself; then cast in bronze. From the bronze,  molds were made. The groupings would then be  cast in plaster.

Rogers became one of the 19th century’s most popular sculptor, producing over 80 works, mainly of everyday life; 12 were on Civil War themes. We have three others available, too. The Council of War, The Town Pump, and Washington. 

(Rogers Group) Rogers, John.  Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations.  NY:  Circa 1865.  Plaster.  22” high; 12” wide; 9” deep.  The classic John Rogers light brown finish. Excellent condition with only minor wear.

More About John Rogers

The clay and plaster statue groups made by John Rogers (1829-1904) from 1859 until 1892 were so appealing in late Victorian America that “scarcely a family of reasonable means and taste did not possess one.”

John Rogers portrayed ordinary, everyday, urban and rural people doing ordinary, everyday things. Through his Rogers Groups he offered an unrivaled transcript of the manners, sports, amusements, social customs, domestic interests, costumes, and even modes of furnishing of the period. John Rogers made statues of Civil War soldiers, family groups, literary topics, theater scenes and historical figures. His statues ranged from eight to forty-six inches tall. 

Between 1860 and 1893 John Rogers sculpted approximately 85 different patented groups of statuary.  During that period, some 25 workmen in his New York factory turned out thousands of plaster castings of his works.  Of some subjects executed by John Rogers, only a few copies were cast and sold.  Of others, thousands were sold. In John Rogers’ 30 year career, the artist sold over a million dollars of sculpture, a lot of money for art in those days.  It is estimated that a total of 80,000 – 100,000 casting of his groups were produced during John Rogers’ lifetime.  By the 1880s, it seemed that families who did not have a John Rogers Group were not conforming to the times.

John Rogers statuary were moderately priced, averaging $14.00 a piece. Roger’s sculptures became a nationwide vogue, and were seen in virtually every art and bookstore window. The appearance of a new John Rogers was a major event covered by reporters from the nation’s newspapers.