Other Online Resources of Portraits at the
American Antiquarian Society
In addition to paintings, miniatures and sculpture, the American Antiquarian Society has a vast collection of portraiture in other forms, including engravings, lithographs, photographs and illustrations. Printed portraits often appeared as book illustrations or, as in the case with the numerous colored lithographs of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, were purchased as home or school decoration. Photographs started out as direct and personal objects, intended as gifts for family members. Eventually, photographs of famous Americans such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Sojourner Truth were more widely distributed to nineteenth-century consumers.
The earliest American portrait in the Society’s collection is a c. 1670 wood cut depicting the puritan leader Richard Mather, and the collection expands rapidly thereafter encompassing portrait images made through 1900. Engravings of colonial leaders, lithographs of American reformers, performers, and presidents, carte-de-visite photographs of Civil War soldiers, as well as images of Native Americans, famous actors, authors, and painted and printed portraits of residents of Worcester, Massachusetts and beyond can all be found under the Generous Dome over the Society's reading room.
Other portrait resources besides the online inventory for painted portraits are the following:
Images to left: engraving from the American Portrait Print collection of Ann H. Judson, the 1670 woodcut of Richard Mather and a lithograph of the Reverend Sampson Occom.