"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

John Greenleaf Whittier

This  1833 portrait of John Greenleaf Whittier by Deacon Robert Peckham hangs in the National  Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
"The son of a Quaker farmer, John Greenleaf Whittier was a poetic prodigy. In 1826 one of his poems was noticed by the antislavery journalist William Lloyd Garrison, creating a lifelong bond between the two men. Garrison supported Whittier's career as a newspaper editor, and his polemics converted Whittier to abolitionism. Dedicating himself to the cause, Whittier worked tirelessly as an antislavery speaker and writer, and was one of the founders of the Republican Party. Whittier was ostracized for his stands: he was mobbed while speaking, and the offices of his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Freeman, were burned to the ground. His early verse was bucolic, but later he put his poetry into the service of abolitionism, collecting his antislavery poems in Voices of Freedom (1846). His reputation now rests on his poetic engagement with the issue of slavery. " -- National Portrait Gallery

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