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

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Sketch of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1844

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Sketch of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1844 / NPS, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

Seth Cheney's small, delicate portrait takes ten years off his subject’s true age of thirty-six, though a happy marriage may well have been the real clock-stopper. Fanny Longfellow's father purchased the Craigie mansion for the couple, children increased the family quickly, and then poet’s career flourished beyond expectations. Cheney's sketch was drawn for commercial purposes, to be used specifically as a template for a print. Interestingly, it was drawn on a scrap paper; the portrait of an unidentified dark-haired girl already marked the back side of the sheet.


Item 16 of 35