Friends Historical Library collected silhouettes
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Cut paper silhouettes were a popular art form in the first half of the 19th century as an alternative to painted portraits. They were generally mounted on a contrasting color paper or silk and often collected in albums or framed for home display. Skilled specialist artists such as August Edouart could quickly cut freehand and produce faithful likenesses in duplicate. Other artists drew an outline on paper, then painted it in. The physionotrace apparatus made the production and duplication of likenesses easily available. Charles Willson Peale introduced the machine in his Museum in Philadelphia in 1803, and thousands of images were produced. Silhouettes were particularly popular with members of the Society of Friends who were opposed to the vanity of painted portraiture, but embraced the simplicity and close representation from life of silhouettes. The popularity of silhouettes quickly declined with the invention of photography.
This collection combines various silhouette albums and images acquired by Friends Hitorical Library into a single unit.
The albums and collections were described as separate series.
In 2018 the scattered silhouette collections in Friends Historical Library from various sources and poorly described were combined into a single artificial collection for better preservation and cataloging.
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- Susanna Morikawa
- Finding Aid Date
- September 2018
- Access Restrictions
Access is restricted due to the fragility of the materials.
- Use Restrictions
Friends Historical Library believes all of the items in this collection to be in the Public Domain in the United States, and is not aware of any restrictions on their use. However, the user is responsible for making a final determination of copyright status before reproducing. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/.
Eduouart's duplicate figures were published in the book August Edouart, A Quaker Album by Helen and Ned Laughon. Richmond, Virginia: Cheswick Press, 1987.
Mounted and enhanced cut silhouettes of Philip M. Price, Matilda Price and Hannah P. Davis. Signed and dated Augt Eduouart, fait 1843.Physical Description
Published as August Edouart, A Quaker Album by Helen and Ned Laughon. Richmond, Virginia: Cheswick Press, 1987.
After the volume was purchased in 1969, on the urging of Friends House, London, the seller provided a fragmentary account of its history as he knew it. The silhouette artist was not identified until 1983 when Helen and Ned Laughon visited FHL to study silhouettes in the Library's collection, especially the Thomas Gilpin album.
The Thomas Gilpin silhouette album contains a lithographed self-portrait by Edouart. The Edouart duplicate volume includes a silhouette of Gilpin, page 140.
An album of duplicate silhouettes created by August Edouart, beginning in 1827 and during his visit to the United States, 1839-1849. Many of subjects were members of the Society of Friends, all identified. This is the only "American" Edouart folio that is still intact, and the images not only preserve a likeness in silhouettes of the sitters but also details of dress and activities.
Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.Physical Description
2 volumesBound volume 14-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches and soft bound Index titled "Friends"
This album of profiles was the property of Thomas Gilpin, Quaker manufacturer and author. It contains primarily copies in ink of profiles made by Joseph Sansom about 1790 in Philadelphia of distinquished personages of the day as well as some other collected images. The sitters include well-known figures such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison and also important Quakers including William Savery, the Pembertons, George Dillwyn, Miers Fisher, Rebecca Jones, and Nicholas Waln. The copyist is not identified, but but the collection also includes a card addressed to Thomas Gilpin, signed by the silhouette artist, Augustin Edouart, Philadelphia 1st March 1843.
Augustin Edouart Album, PA 33-A;
"An Occasional Collection of Physiognomical Sketches. . ." by Joseph Sansom, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Inscription inside front cover: Thomas Gilpin/Philadelphia/1820Physical Description
1 volumes1 leather bound volume
Commercial album containing hollow-cut silhouettes of the extended Philadelpia Quaker Coates and Horner family and friends mounted on blue paper. All are identified, some stamped MUSEUM, cut at the Peale Museum. The bulk of the silhouettes date between about 1803 to 1824. An unrelated printed reproduction of a silhouette of Thomas Shillitoe (Liverpool, 1839) is glued near the end of the volume. Also includes some Quaker ministers and prominent Philadelphians such as Benjamin Rush.Physical Description
Hollow cut silhouettes pasted onto pages of a copybook. The lettering practice workbook is autographed Jane Trumans Book, and some copy poetry is signed by Sarah Shaw, 1806. The album includes silhouettes of members of the Truman and Shaw families of Philadelphia as well as other figures of the day including George Washington. Some are imprinted with the Peale MUSUM stamp. An additional 56 silhouettes mounted on 7 pages of black paper are associated family members, including children of Joseph M. and Sarah Shaw Truman.
Handwritten note: thy affectionate friend/Elizabeth Hodgkin
Stitched onto black silk
Stitched onto black silk
Given to FHL together with the inked silhouettes. Placed in archival plastic individually for fragility. Some are stamped and a few are identified.