The least known literary figure today on the Mall Halleck was a writer of satirical and romantic verse, and for many years the personal secretary to the eminent John Jacob Astor. It is the first statue of an American in Central Park. The sculpture was commissioned after his 1867 death by publisher and Central Park proponent William Cullen Bryant and General James Grant Wilson. It was created by James MacDonald. President Hayes and an estimated crowd of 10,000 spectators attended its 1877 dedication.