Randolph Rogers was born in Waterloo, New York, but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, showing little interest in art. He moved to New York City at age twenty and made some busts for the store where he was a clerk. His coworkers were so impressed that they financed his trip to Florence, where he won critical acclaim for his figure Nydia, a character from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1834 novel, The Last Days of Pompeii. Rogers had only been sculpting for five years when he created the Columbus doors for the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. These doors, which depict Christopher Columbus’s life and adventures, established his reputation as a noted sculptor. Rogers continued making sculpture until his death at age sixty-seven.