Smiling With Pollyanna

How a statue helps people feel glad in Littleton

“And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” — Pollyanna

I don’t know about you, but I could use some sunshine and cheer. Luckily, there’s a place in the friendly town of Littleton where you can always find a smile.

On Main Street, near all the adorable shops and in front of the Littleton Library, is a smiling bronze statue of the fictional character, Pollyanna Whittier.

Looking at this public work of art, you can’t help but smile at the exuberant character that has inspired so many children through the years. If you haven’t heard of Pollyanna, she stars in a fictional children’s story about an 11-year-old orphan girl who overcomes adversity and helps others by having a positive outlook on life. To help her maintain this optimism, she plays a “Glad Game” where she practices finding something to feel glad about. This sense of gratitude, gets her through the bad times.

The sculpture celebrates the character created in 1913 by the Littleton author Eleanor H. Porter, who was born on December 19, 1868.

Commissioned by the Eames family, the sculpture of Pollyanna was created by New Hampshire artist Emile Birch in 2002 at his studio in Canaan. Birch is also known for “The Eternal Shield,” a memorial on the Statehouse grounds, which is dedicated to New Hampshire law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty. His work “Vigilance,” a tribute to firefighters past and present, is on display in Portsmouth.

According to Karen Keazirian, director of Pollyanna Of Littleton Inc., the Pollyanna statue is designed in bronze with a patina that will enrich her appearance over time. The statue is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, (plus a few inches for her hat rim) and weighs about 350 pounds; the base adds height and style. The base is made of about 20 granite blocks of various sizes and weights — from a few hundred pounds each, to Pollyanna’s pedestal, which weighs about 1,000 pounds.

“Pollyanna is welcoming,” Keazirian says. “The iconic and beautiful sculpture is where people come to be glad, admire, visit and gain a notion of cheerful gladness (on the official Pollyanna day) and every day throughout the year. The story goes on. There’s always time for more gladness.”

Near the breathtaking White Mountains and along the Ammonoosuc River, the lovely town of Littleton can help you find something to feel glad about. Go see Pollyanna, and I bet you’ll smile too.

For more information, visit the Pollyanna page on

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Susanna Hargreaves photo

Discovering art can be a free, fun, family experience. See how great art can inspire you and your children. For the price of a tank of gas, art lovers don’t have to drive far to experience something meaningful.

Categories: NH History and Outdoor Art