- Associated Press - Sunday, October 5, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Family members and supporters of an Italian immigrant seeking more recognition for his role in the carving of Mount Rushmore National Memorial have been unable to persuade the National Park Service to honor him as chief carver.

“They want to lump him in with the rest of the workers,” said Gloria Del Bianco, 68, of Los Angeles, the only surviving child of carver Luigi Del Bianco.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum is credited with memorializing Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt in the Black Hills. But Del Bianco and others behind the effort cite Borglum’s own words as proof that her father played a more vital role than other workers who contributed to the massive undertaking of the 1930s and earned the moniker.

“Gutzon Borglum refers to him (Del Bianco) as the chief carver,” said Douglas Gladstone, author of “Carving a Niche for Himself; The Untold Story of Luigi Del Bianco and Mount Rushmore.”

“If Gutzon Borglum’s own correspondence isn’t good enough, what is?” he asked.



But the National Park Service said Del Bianco has received the credit he is due.

“Luigi Del Bianco was one of the skilled carvers that traveled from the East to work on the sculpture,” Mount Rushmore Superintendent Cheryl Schreier said in an emailed statement. “Mr. Del Bianco is recognized for his contributions to the sculpture both in our museum and on our Workers Wall. His work is also noted in publications sold in the park bookstore.”

Gladstone is still trying to have his book included among those for sale at the memorial. And the family is collecting signatures in hopes of applying pressure on the park service. They also hope October’s National Italian American Heritage Month helps draws attention to the effort.

“They’re irate. They’re truly perplexed,” Gladstone said of Italian Americans.

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Online:

Petition: https://bit.ly/1vD1OyY

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