NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New York State Assembly member Amy Paulin and Helen Doctorow, widow of author E.L. Doctorow, joined Mayor Noam Bramson at New Rochelle Public Library on Thursday morning, February 23rd to announce a $125,000 grant from New York State that will support the Doctorow Legacy Initiative, honoring the acclaimed author in the city that inspired his best-known work, Ragtime.
At the ceremony, the Doctorow Legacy Initiative also introduced sculptor Derek Chalfant, whose proposal for a statue of E.L. Doctorow was selected in an international RFP process last summer. “We received 16 proposals from artists across the U.S. and as far away as Turkey and Spain,” said Theresa Kump Leghorn, President of the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, who sits on the Doctorow Legacy Initiative committee.
The proposed site is Huguenot Park, in the geographic center of New Rochelle: City Historian Barbara Davis noted. “We believe this is the ideal location because of its proximity to Broadview Avenue, where the Doctorow family lived and which served as the inspiration for Ragtime.”
“E.L. Doctorow was a true American treasure and undoubtedly one of the most admired residents in New Rochelle’s history,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “I look forward to acknowledging Ed’s remarkable life and accomplishments through a permanent installation, and I express my gratitude to the artists and community leaders who have spearheaded this important initiative.”
In addition to the statue, the committee has supported a Heritage Award designation for the Doctorow’s former home on Broadview Avenue and the creation of educational programs in the schools. The committee — made up of representatives from the New Rochelle Council on the Arts, the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence and the City of New Rochelle, plus City Historian Barbara Davis – is kicking off a public fundraising campaign to pay for landscaping and programming. The New Rochelle Council on the Arts (NRCA), a 501 ©3 organization established in 1975, is the lead agency for this project; with NRCA acting as the fiscal agent, donors’ contributions are tax deductible. To make a tax deductible contribution with a credit card donors can visit www.newrochellearts.org or mail a check (with Doctorow Legacy written on the notes line) to NRCA, P.O. Box 211, New Rochelle, NY 10804.
Edgar Lawrence “E. L.” Doctorow (Jan. 6, 1931 – July 21, 2015) was an author, editor, and professor, known internationally for his works of historical fiction, including Loon Lake, The Waterworks, The Book of Daniel, Welcome to Hard Times, The March and Ragtime (named one of the 100 Best Books of the 20th Century). He was also a beloved New Rochelle resident, and Mayor Noam Bramson says he received many calls from citizens asking the city to honor the author after he passed away in July, 2015. Mayor Bramson appointed a committee to consider the most appropriate way to honor Doctorow’s legacy.