Sculptor Henry Dmochowski Saunders was born in 1810 in Lithuania, then part of Russian Poland. He immigrated to America in the early 1850s and added the English name Saunders to his original surname Dmochowski. The artist settled in Philadelphia, where he exhibited numerous portrait medallions and sculptures of prominent Americans and Europeans at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Four years later he moved to Washington, D.C. In 1857 Saunders wrote to Captain Montgomery C. Meigs, superintendent of the Capitol extension, seeking a contract to execute a marble bust based on his existing medallion of Casimir Pulaski. Although Saunders succeeded in selling a bust of another Polish soldier of the American Revolution, General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, to the Joint Committee on the Library, no action was taken on the Pulaski likeness. Saunders returned to Poland and died in 1863 while fighting for his country’s freedom.
On March 2, 1867, Congress appropriated $1,000 through the Sundry Civil Expenses Act to purchase the marble bust of Pulaski by Saunders. However, no further official action was taken until February 1882, when the Senate passed a resolution instructing the Joint Committee on the Library to “inquire into the alleged contract...[with] Henry D. Saunders for the execution of a bust, in marble, of the Count Pulaski, and to carry into effect the terms of said alleged contract, if the same be proven.”  By this time the bust was displayed in National Statuary Hall. It was finally acquired by the Joint Committee on the Library on March 11, 1882, when the executor for Saunders’s estate, John T. Pickett, was paid $1,500 from the Works of Art Fund. Although the artist regularly exhibited in America as “H.D. Saunders,” he signed the Pulaski bust with his original surname, Dmochowski.
1. U.S. Senate, Senate Journal (13 February 1882) 47th Cong., 1st sess., 296.