“If one steps into the cultural district of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and into a graceful garden adjoining the main branch of the Bucks County Free Library, Lassie [star of books, film, radio, television] will be found preserved in bronze. The creation of Philadelphia sculptor Eric Berg, the statue depicts a regal animal with a representation of Eric Knight’s famous book at her paws.”
And so begins Don Swaim’s story in the latest edition of Neshaminy – The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal.
The Lassie sculpture was commissioned by the Michener Art Museum, made possible through a Pennsylvania Legislative Initiative Grant won in 1995.
But why a statue of the beloved collie? Because, as Swaim tells us, Eric Knight (1897-1943) wrote his well-known stories here in Bucks County. The popularity of an initial short story, which was expanded into a novel, subsequent films and eventually several television series made the fictional canine part of mid-century American culture.
The entire story of Lassie and her creator can be found in Neshaminy, published by the Doylestown Historical Society, in association with the Bucks County Writers Workshop. Copies are available at local bookstores, the Doylestown Historical Society, and online from Amazon.