John Hicks

John Hicks was a Oshkosh, Wisconsin businessman, philanthropist and civic leader. Hicks was the publisher of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper, he was also United States Minister to Peru from 1889-1892 and ambassador to Chile in 1905.

Amongst his many other endeavors, he developed a serious interest in public sculpture and befriended Gaetano Trentanove, an Italian sculptor who became an American citizen and operated studios in Milwaukee and Florence. Hicks commissioned the Soldiers' Memorial in Oshkosh, the lions Sawyer and Harris outside the Oshkosh Public Library, and numerous other public sculptures in and around Oshkosh.

He was in the middle of writing a memoir that was also a history of Oshkosh when he died in December, 1917 in San Antonio, Texas. The completed portions of his memoirs were published in his newspaper.

Hicks left an endowment to the people of Oshkosh for "“the purchase and erection of statues, busts and monuments in the parks and streets of the City of Oshkosh, and the repair of such as are now in existence or may hereafter be erected” and for “the purchase of books, pictures, maps drawings and works of art to be placed in the High School and ward schools of the City of Oshkosh.”"

Per his instructions, the fund is managed by the library board and the fund partially funded the 2003 restoration of the Soldiers' Memorial in Oshkosh, a sculpture he originally commissioned.

Gaetano Trentanove sculpted a bust of Hicks, which is on display in the Oshkosh Public Library.

Oshkosh Public Library (Winnebago County, Wisconsin)
Domed, Neo-classical building with an Ionic colonnade and bronze lions guarding the portico.
Soldiers' Monument (Winnebago County, Wisconsin)
Civil War Monument commissioned by John Hicks in memory of his father, who died in the Civil War