Electra Waggoner Biggs, American (1912 - 2001)

Famed Texas sculptor and oil-and-ranching heir Electra Waggoner Biggs.

Biggs' grandfather was famed Texas cattleman and horseman W.T. "Pappy" Waggoner, who inherited the Waggoner Ranch from his father, cattle baron Dan Waggoner. He also bred thoroughbred horses and built the Arlington Downs racetrack that operated in Arlington during the 1930s.

Her father, E. Paul Waggoner, was a quarter horse breeder and a lover of Western lore who built the Santa Rosa Roundup on 160 acres of family land, just south of Vernon.

Born in 1912 in Fort Worth, Biggs began sculpting while studying in New York.

"She went down to Greenwich Village and found out she had a knack for sculpting," her daughter, Helen Biggs Willingham of Vernon, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In her artistic career, Biggs was commissioned to do busts of Bob Hope, Knute Rockne, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry Truman. But her most famous work may be "Into the Sunset," the bronze statute in Fort Worth of the late humorist Will Rogers astride his horse, Soapsuds.

Longtime Fort Worth Star-Telegram publisher Amon Carter Sr., a close friend of Rogers, commissioned the statue in 1936, the year after the humorist's death.

The statue was completed in 1939 and placed in front of Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium and Coliseum, but it remained crated until after World War II. Only in 1947, at ceremonies attended by Eisenhower and Margaret Truman, daughter of the president, was the statue unveiled.

Copies were later placed on the Texas Tech University campus and at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Okla.

Her beauty inspired the naming of an automobile, the Buick Electra, and of an aircraft, the Lockheed Electra. Harlow H. Curtice, president of General Motors' Buick Motor Division when the Buick model was named in 1959, was the brother-in-law of Biggs husband, John Biggs, who died in 1975.

Biggs also figured in a pivotal event in the history of her family's oil and ranching interests.


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