Sculptor Coppini, born in Mantua, Italy, in 1870, immigrated to the United States in 1896 and moved to Texas in 1901 to work on the Confederate monument on the capitol grounds. He worked in San Antonio until 1916, departed, and returned in 1937 from New York City.
This World War I memorial was built with funds from a $250,000 trust established by Major George Washington Littlefield (1842– 1920), Confederate officer, banker, cattleman (owning more than 350,000 acres in northern Texas and eastern New Mexico), and regent of the university. In addition to the fountain, Littlefield funded the Littlefield Fund for Southern History, a collection of archival resources to support the writing of a Civil War history to rebut what he believed were the Northern-leaning histories available at the time. He also funded a women's dormitory on the campus and contributed more than any other individual in the university's first fifty years.