They don't always get it right on CBS Sunday Morning.
On July 4, 1999 they ran a story titled "Face of Honor."
It was about portraits of Abraham Lincoln. It included
a segment on Vinnie Ream, the teenage girl who obtained
a commission from Congress to make a statue of Lincoln
in 1866 when the artist was only 18 years old.
One guy they interviewed said it was a $20,000 commission.
Wrong! It was a $10,000 commission that was increased by
$5,000--which gave the sculptor a total of $15,000. They
never contacted me about this, even though I had written
a 440 page book on Vinnie Ream that had been published in
1997 and that was available in New York at the Frick Art
Reference Library--and at other libraries. I even sent
packets on my book to CBS Sunday Morning on at least two
occasions and never received a reply. I wrote to them too
pointing out the mistake but I don't know if they read my
comments on the air. It may have been the first time,
however, that Vinnie Ream has been featured on network TV.
My book was not mention and the sales have not improved.
Yesterday, they ran a story on the "Harry Potter" craze,
which is a case of a project not needing free coverage.
But my book has been ignored. The New York Times would
not give the book any coverage either. We sent them
galley proofs of the book nine months before it went to
press (in December 0f 1998) and no review ever appeared.
I wrote to them asking why they did not print a review
of my book on Vinnie Ream when they did print a lengthy
review of a book on Harriet Hosmer a few years before. An
editor wrote back "I guess we decided not to review it" and
he gave a generic reply, adding that there were too many
good books being produced today for them to cover them all.
My book was far more elaborate than the book on Hosmer.
There was an article too in American History Illustrated on
Vinnie Ream by a woman writer in Florida. It was OK except
they included a photo of a bust by Augustus St. Gaudens!
And it was made long after Miss Ream's Lincoln sculptures.
I wrote to them about that and you can see the letter on
our web links at the web site http://www.vinnieream.com
It was rather odd because I had sent an article on Vinnie
Ream to them once and they wouldn't print it. It was titled
"The Lost Art of Vinnie Ream." At least mine was correct!
Don't rely on the accuracy of what you see in the media!
It's a racket that is often dominated by goofiness.
Glenn V. Sherwood
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