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Catalog Data

Henry Inman, 28 Oct 1801 - 17 Jan 1846  Search this
Copy after:
Charles Bird King, 26 Sep 1785 - 18 Mar 1862  Search this
Sequoyah, c. 1770 - Aug 1843  Search this
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 76.8 x 64.1 x 2.5cm (30 1/4 x 25 1/4 x 1")
Frame: 89.5 x 77.5 x 8.9cm (35 1/4 x 30 1/2 x 3 1/2")
c. 1830
Exhibition Label:
Born Cherokee town of Tuskegee, eastern Tennessee
Sequoyah, the son of a Cherokee chief’s daughter and a fur trader from Virginia, was a warrior and hunter and, some say, a silversmith. For twelve years he worked to devise a method of writing for the Cherokee language. His syllabary of eighty-five symbols representing vowel and consonant sounds was approved by the Cherokee chiefs in 1825. The simple utilitarian system made possible a rapid spread of literacy throughout the Cherokee nation. Medicine men set down ceremonies for healing, divination, war, and traditional ball games; missionaries translated hymns and the New Testament into the native language; and in 1828 the Cherokee Phoenix, a weekly bilingual newspaper, began publication at New Echota, Georgia.
The original portrait of Sequoyah, commissioned by Thomas McKenney and painted by Charles Bird King, was destroyed by the fire that swept through the Smithsonian Castle building in January 1865.
Geoffrey B. Churchill, Wilbraham, Mass.; purchased 1979 NPG
Symbols & Motifs\Medal\Peace medal  Search this
Interior  Search this
Printed Material\Papers  Search this
Equipment\Smoking Implements\Pipe  Search this
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table\Writing table  Search this
Container\Inkwell  Search this
Sequoyah: Male  Search this
Sequoyah: Education\Educator  Search this
Sequoyah: Humanities and Social Sciences\Linguist  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
See more items in:
National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View:
NPG, East Gallery 136
Data Source:
National Portrait Gallery