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Painted Portraits, Miniatures and Sculpted Portrait Busts at the American Antiquarian Society

Painted portraits, miniatures and sculpted portrait busts in the United States were displayed in homes and in government and other public buildings such as hospitals and libraries.

"Portraits at the American Antiquarian Society" is an online inventory and visual resource designed for researchers and scholars interested in the Society's fine art collections.  

Images of all of the painted and sculptural portraits may be accessed online by using the navigational links at the top and bottom of this page or by the following links: 

Click here to view a pdf of the introduction "The American Painted Portrait and Sculpture Collection" by Georgia Barnhill and Caroline Sloat.

Biographical essays and catalogue of the portraits in this exhibition were done by Lauren B. Hewes and follows her text Portraits in the Collection of the American Antiquarian Society Available for purchase at Oak Knoll.

Images to right: miniature of Andrew Craigie, bust of John Winthrop and portrait of Marion Williams Goddard.


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.


Other AAS Inventories of Portraits

Search tip:

A name search on the "Search this site" in the upper right hand corner of the homepage will search across the various inventoried collections, with the exception of those in the online catalogs (Voyager & CAEP).

AAS Databases for finding Portraits

Search tip:

A search using the AAS Online Catalog can yield portraits contained within book collections. For instance, searching under the Guided Search for "port." and Jarena Lee features the record for this item, one of the only visual images of the famous African-American woman preacher.


Introduction & resources | Sitter index | Artist index | Worcester sitters | Browse portraits by thumbnails | AAS home