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

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1825

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1825 / Maine Historical Society

Eighteen-year-old Henry Longfellow graduated in 1825 from Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine, only forty miles from his hometown, Portland. The civilizing, if frugal and simple, "country college" (so called by Henry James) recorded graduates' profiles for a "group picture" of a class famed for high-achievers including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Franklin Pierce along with Longfellow. A silhouette artist would cut a portrait in the center of stiff white card paper. India ink brushed over the profile-shaped stencil produced individual small black-on-white copies for friends as well as a large sheet "class portrait." The Bowdoin College Library retains originals of Longfellow's silhouette stencil, ink copies, and the class silhouette record.

See slide 14

Scherenschnitte/Silhouette Lesson Plan

silhouette-man.com

 

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