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Rumors: Tall Tales About Senate Art

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Bust of James Sherman: Criminal Evidence?

James S. Sherman

James S. Sherman, by Bessie Onahotema Potter Vonnoh, 1911

This bust of Vice President James Sherman is located in a corridor just outside the Senate Chamber. It was sculpted for the Senate's Vice Presidential Bust Collection, which was established in 1886 to honor U.S. vice presidents, who also serve as presidents of the Senate.


The Rumor

Note the mark on Sherman's right cheek

Note the mark on Sherman's right cheek

A commonly heard rumor is that the dark flaw on Sherman's right cheek was caused by flying debris when domestic terrorists detonated a bomb in the Capitol.

The Truth!

It is true that in 1983 domestic terrorists detonated a small bomb across the hall from the Sherman bust, causing heavy damage in the area. However, the sculpture sustained no damage.

How Do We Know the Truth?


Myths: Origins of the Myth
The 1983 bombing caused extensive damage to several of the paintings hanging in the corridor, but the two marble busts in the area were not affected.
William Allison, by Wilbur Aaron Reaser
John C. Calhoun, by Henry F. Darby
Daniel Webster, by Richard Francis Nagle