PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – A recently released book highlights the significance of a Port Chester resident’s role in constructing the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. However, you won’t find it at the monument’s bookstores.
The National Park Service (NPS) has banned the sale of "Carving a Niche for Himself," by Douglas J. Gladstone, an author from Wilton, N.Y.
Citing historical evidence, the book depicts Lugi Del Bianco as Mount Rushmore’s chief carver.
According to Gladstone, Bianco was tasked by Rushmore sculptor and designer Gutzon Borglum to give the presidential faces their “refinement of expression.” In one of Borglum’s letters, which can be found in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, Borglum refers to Bianco as the chief carver.
"I have seen the letter in which Borglum refers to Del Bianco as chief carver," said Maureen McGee Ballinger, the chief of interpretive services at the monument, according to a press release. "But I consider Gutzon Borglum the chief carver."
In Gladston’s book, Gloria Del Bianco, the 68-year-old daughter of Lugi, is quoted as saying the NPS turned a “blind eye” to historical evidence. Gloria has been at odds with the NPS over her father’s role for decades.
“The policy of the Parks Service is that all 400 individuals who worked at the monument from 1927 through 1941 receive the same credit, irrespective of their job, titles and contributions,” said Gladstone in a press release. “And while that's very egalitarian, it also presupposes that the man who ran the elevator lift to the monument was as important as Del Bianco. Listen, there's no greater advocate of the 'there is no 'I' in 'Team'' philosophy than myself. But the Parks Service policy is misguided.
“How do you lump Del Bianco, who gave those faces their souls, in with the likes of someone who ran the elevator lift? So, I’ve taken the agency to task in my book?”
Gladstone had believed that 60 copies of his book were available at the monument’s book stores. Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the on-site retail buyer for the agency's concessionaire instructed him to use Dakota Books to broker the transaction. The retail buyer recently notified that although the copies were paid for, they were never sold at the Rushmore bookstores. “Does the Park Service come off very well in my book? No it doesn't,” said Gladstone in a press release. “But, I've always believed that I was even handed in my treatment of the federal agency. I presented their point of view, not just my own.”