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

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Francis Alexander, 1852

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Francis Alexander, 1852 / NPS, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site

Oliver Wendell Holmes claimed that "he trembled every time he drove past the Craigie House, for those who lived there had their happiness so perfect that no change, of all the changes that must come to them, could fail to be for the worse" (quoted by Charles Calhoun in <span class="book_title">Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life</span>, Boston: Beacon Press, 2004, p. 198).

Francis Alexander's portrait captures the rich depths that colored his sitter's life in the 1850s, possibly as his own star was sinking.

The Connecticut-born artist studied with Gilbert Stuart, traveled to Italy more than once, and won mention in William Dunlap's first American art history book, yet is not well known today.


Item 24 of 35