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Celebrity's Picture: Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ca. 1843

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ca. 1843 / Maine Historical Society

Frances Appleton's fortune and social position far exceeded her scholarly suitor's, but after seven years of rejection, she summoned Mr. Longfellow to her Beacon Street home on May 10, 1843, to accept his marriage proposal. She handled the social differences of her Portland in-laws tactfully and paired ideally with her literary husband. Possibly during a wedding-related trip to Maine that nuptial year, local master Charles Octavius Cole took Longfellow's portrait. Cole came to Portland to study with the town's first settled professional painter, Charles Codman. He stayed, and his "buttery" style became the favorite of the town’s leading citizens in the 1830s. He helped establish Portland's early reputation as an art community.


Item 15 of 35