Longfellow Historic Photographs
Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow posed for a series of professional portrait photographs taken in his custom-built studio at Coolidge Point, Manchester, Massachusetts. Notice the diversity of subject matter that he painted, including landscapes, portraits, figures, and narrative scenes. Like many of his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic, Longfellow used such photographs to foster his reputation as a gentleman-artist. For example, he is seen here holding a palette and brush while wearing a spotless suit in which he surely had never painted. Earlier generations of New Englanders had often perceived artists as uncouth, decadent, or unproductive. Here, by contrast, Longfellow’s personal elegance and prolific output are very much in evidence.