Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lincoln Portrait By East Pas Pioneer Used in School Curriculum

President Abraham Lincoln by William F. Cogswell
White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

William Cogswell is a fascinating part of local history. About a year ago, I wrote about William Cogswell, the famous artist and East Pasadena pioneer. I've also written about the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel, which Cogswell founded in 1876 with his son-in-law, and the mystery surrounding his contribution to the Pasadena Public Library.

Mr. Cogswell's most famous work, his official White House portrait of Abraham Lincoln, is being studied as part of interesting new curriculum for junior and senior high school students in Ohio.

Cincinnati Public Media, a PBS affiliate, has developed a curriculum titled "Remembering Lincoln." In a section called "Appreciating Images," students study and contrast Lincoln portraits painted by George Healy and William Cogswell. In 1869 the portraits were submitted to Congress as part of a competition. The winning portrait would hang in the White House. Congress appropriated $3,000 for the winning artist.

Of course, Cogswell's portrait won and remains part of the White House Collection today.

Cogswell was a fascinating and talented guy who made a huge contribution to our local history. I am glad to see him getting some well-deserved attention.

One more thing. The curriculum cites to East of Allen (which is how I learned about it).


pasadenapio said...

I always get a little more educated when I visit your blog!

Petrea said...

Fascinating stuff, Michael. Was the mystery of the missing paintings ever solved?

Michael Coppess said...

Thanks Ann. High praise from the pio!

Petrea: It has been interesting and maddening looking for the missing painting. I've poked around town, been contacted by Lincoln memorabilia folks in NY and Illinois and talked to other locals who have searched. No sign of the painting. The Pas PL has a file on the painting and there was a flurry of correspondence about it in 1961 and the painting is plainly referred to as hanging in the library. To me, it is a missing treasure of this amazing city we live in. Think of it. We had one of a couple of replicas Cogswell did of his official WH Lincoln portrait. The original is in the WH collection, one replica hangs behind the speaker's podium in Sac and the other one hung for at least six decades in our PL!. I'd love to find the painting.

Petrea said...

Have you connected with anyone at the Huntington?

Michael Coppess said...

Yes, I contacted the Huntington early on and was told they did not have Cogswell's Lincoln portrait. said...

Will probably show up on the Antique Road Show