New York Public Library Lion

"Fortitude" lion guarding New York Public Library entrance. Photography by Paul Speed

The prominent stone lions guarding the entrance of the New York Public Library were sculpted by Edward Clark Potter, an American sculptor best known for his equestrian and animal monuments.

They were originally named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, for the two private libraries that formed the collection’s core. In the 1930s they were nicknamed Patience (on the left or south) and Fortitude (on the right or north) by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. He chose these names because he felt that the people of New York would need to possess these qualities to see themselves through the Great Depression.

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