Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction ''American Louvre''

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pp. 1-8

Probably on a morning in 1856, a little wisp of a girl holding a pasteboard folder walked up Broadway’s brick-paved sidewalk beside a bespectacled gentleman with a fringe of beard. The wide avenue was already bustling with vendors pulling handcarts, wagons toting barrels, and horse-drawn streetcars loading passengers. Brushing past the pair, men and...

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1 Democratic Proclivities

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pp. 9-38

During the 1820s, Anna and Sarah Peale traveled between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., painting oil portraits of eminent congressmen and still lifes of watermelons. Ruth W. Shute and her husband Samuel moved through the New England countryside capturing the likenesses of small-town Americans in a mixture of media. Emily and...

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2 "The Unity of Art"

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pp. 39-65

In her manual Practical Hints on the Art of Illumination, which came out in 1867 to good notices, Alice Donlevy emphasized the relationship between aesthetics and remunerative labor in industrial fields. Learning mechanical copying by hand, she informed her readers, is only the elementary step in the art of book decorating and is insufficient to secure...

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3 "Art Fever"

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pp. 66-90

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott began a story about the experiences of Psyche, a young woman trying to reconcile familial duties with artistic desires, with these words: ‘‘Once upon a time there raged in a certain city one of those fashionable epidemics which occasionally attack our youthful...

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4 "Harrahed for the Union"

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pp. 91-128

Worried about the state of the country during the construction of his school in the 1850s, Peter Cooper decided to put the single word ‘‘Union’’ on the most conspicuous front of the building looking south and dedicate it to a ‘‘union of effort’’ in the nation. Against his wishes, the New York legislature added his name to the title. This addition was apt, for Cooper’s...

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5 "Laborers in the Field of the Beautiful"

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pp. 129-160

Surveying New York City’s cultural landscape in 1868, the New York Evening Post was ‘‘surprised to learn that we possess so numerous a corps of women laborers in the field of the beautiful.’’ In fact the ‘‘women artists of our city are already so strong in numbers as to justify the formation of a society whose object it is to assist all of their sister artists...

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6 "An Easier and Surer Path"

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pp. 161-212

Returning home to Milton-on-the-Hudson after three years at ‘‘the Cooper,’’ Mary Hallock found she could work at her drawing almost anywhere, no matter who was present (Figure 27). She took her sketchpad and pencil with her wherever she went, on summer outings to Peg’s Beach and Black Pond or out-of-town holiday visits to the homes of family and friends. Eventually...

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7 "A Combination of Adverse Circumstances"

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pp. 213-254

Cecelia Beaux (b. 1855) came to New York City to pursue a career as a portrait painter in the 1880s. Like her predecessors at midcentury, Beaux had chosen art as her work out of need, desire, and principle. ‘‘Although all sorts of intangibilities and uncertainties hovered about my existence,’’ she recalled in 1930, ‘‘there was one rock-bottom reality. I must become independent.’’1

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 255-258

Notes

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pp. 259-306

Index

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pp. 307-318

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 319-319

Writing is rewriting. It involves getting something down, talking, reading, laughing over tea, thinking, eating, and writing it again. Many people helped me write this book. For reading and commenting on drafts of chapters, thank you so much Vincent DiGirolamo, Donna Rilling, Bob Lockhart...