Mayo brothers by James Earle Fraser
United States Postal Service 1964 postage stamp depicting Charles Horace Mayo and William James Mayo. It was designed after a bronze statue of the Mayo brothers by James Earle Fraser. This statue is of Doctors Mayo who founded the world famous Mayo Clinic. It is located at the main entrance to the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Dr. William W. Mayo came to the United States from England in 1845 and settled in rural Minnesota as a country doctor. Two of his sons, Charles Horace and William James, followed in their father’s footsteps, studying medicine at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan respectively.
In 1889, the Sisters of St. Francis in Rochester desired to open a local hospital and asked the two Mayo brothers for help in establishing the facility. Named St. Mary’s Hospital, the facility grew, attracting patients and other doctors from all around due largely to the Mayo brothers influence and renown. Known colloquially as the “Mayo Clinic” for many years, that name was eventually adopted officially and today, the Mayo Clinic is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the world.
Both Charles H. Mayo and William J. Mayo died within a couple months of each other in 1939. Shortly thereafter, the citizens of Rochester wanted a memorial established in their honor. Prominent sculptor James Earle Fraser received the commission for the memorial which consisted of the two statues in an amphitheater-like setting with a large granite slab behind them. The statues have been moved on several occasions and spent some time in storage, but today, the memorial has been reestablished in a small park behind the civic center.
James Earle Fraser was a prolific sculptor during the first half of the twentieth century. Though never honored directly on a US postage stamp, several of his sculptures have, nevertheless, appeared on them.