More than 100 years ago, Pompeo Coppini, an Italian immigrant to the United States, made a plaster of Paris mold for a monumental, 10-foot-high statue of a woman struggling through wind and rain, across a mountain of rubble, a baby in her arms and a small child’s arms clutching at her waist.

Coppini, who worked and lived in San Antonio, called his creation “Victims of the Galveston Flood,” and hoped to have it cast in bronze for the city of Galveston, to commemorate the 1900 Storm, the worst natural disaster in American history.

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257;

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(7) comments

Bailey Jones

Well, this is disappointing.

Dan Freeman

Pompeo Coppini sculpted the Littlefield Fountain at the entrance to the University of Texas. He intended it to be a memorial to the students and alumni who died in World War I. He opposed it being a memorial to the Confederacy as it would promote the "Lost Cause" myth. The statues of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and others were removed in the 21st Century.

Carlos Ponce

"and others" - The statue of Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat president known for praising the KKK, was removed and placed in storage in August 2015. UT President Gregory L. Fenves announced that the statue of President Wilson would be relocated but it is still in storage. UT spokeswoman Shilpa Bakre. "There are no future plans for it at this time." Jefferson Davis' statue was relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History on the UT campus.

Bailey Jones

Wilson was a racist of the first degree. His policies were part of the wave of racial oppression that was most visibly manifested in the erection of so many confederate monuments in the early part of the 20th century. His academic credentials, and his peddling of the "Lost Cause" narrative in his "history" books gave a veneer of intellectualism to the racism of low southern whites, and his election (even though he only received 42% of the popular vote) was seen by southern democrats as a vindication of the south's role in the civil war. He was responsible for the reversal in federal efforts to halt the re-enslavement of Americans by way of "debt peonage" that had begun under the Roosevelt administration. I hope they melt it down and make sinkers from it.

Charlotte O'rourke

Has everyone given up on finding the original statue? [sad]

kathryneastburn Staff
Kathryn Eastburn

The likeliest theory is that the original plaster model, which was stored in a basement at UT and last taken out for viewing in 1919, was lost when the building burned. As I understand it, the search on campus for Coppini's statues — he gave them others as well when he left San Antonio — was quite extensive and it's unlikely the original will ever be found. A replica's probably the best we'll see.

Charlotte O'rourke

Thanks for the additional information. I hope future UT donations and/or storage of art work are shown more consideration. The picture of the statue was beautiful and the talent and skill displayed awe-inspiring. A loss that should have been prevented.

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