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The Story of Mankind

Lee Lawrie with colorist Leon V. Solon

American, born Germany. 1877 - 1963

Above 29 West 50th Street entrance of 630 Fifth Avenue

The Story of Mankind is a massive carved limestone screen divided into fifteen small rectangular spaces that Lawrie termed “hieroglyphs”. It was created to symbolize the purpose of the International Building and to chronicle mankind’s progress, starting with the bottom center’s four figures depicting the races of mankind. The sailing ship image above them symbolizes international trade, while other symbols include a Norman tower as pre-industry, a lion as kingdoms of the world, and Mercury as worldwide communication. The clock and rays at the very top represent earth.

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