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

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Henry W. Longfellow, ca. 1854

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Henry W. Longfellow, ca. 1854 / Bowdoin College Library

Bowdoin also acquired an engraving of Thomas Read's 1859 Longfellow portrait with a plain, flat background, labeled "ON STEEL BY JOHN SARTAIN--AFTER THE OBJECT BY J B READ--THE ORIGINAL IN THE POSSESSION OF FRED T DRIER ESQ."

Read was a roaming Pennsylvanian who studied painting in Ohio, the Northeast, and Europe before settling down in Philadelphia.

Starting in 1845 as a Longfellow "protégé," he painted the poet on several occasions. Perhaps most significantly, he produced the famous group portrait of the three sweet little blonde Longfellow daughters that became a sentimental print icon of childhood before the Civil War. It still hangs in the Craigie House.


Item 29 of 35