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Drexel, Francis Martin (07 April 1792–05 June 1863), investment banker and painter, was born in Dornbirn, Austria, the son of Franz Joseph Drexel, a merchant, and Magdalen Willhelm. Drexel’s father sent him to Milan in 1803 to attend school; he took courses in Italian and in the fine arts and began his career as a painter. As a result of problems in his father’s business and the eruption of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1806 Drexel returned to Dornbirn to assist his father. Drexel, who was not drafted into the Hapsburg army, two years later continued his studies, first in France and then in Switzerland. He also painted portraits, decorated coaches, and drew pictorial signs. After spending time in Dornbirn between 1815 and 1817, the adventurous Drexel, who was disenchanted with the economic and political conditions in Austria, decided to leave Europe. In 1817 he sailed from Amsterdam on the ...

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Edmonds, Francis William (22 November 1806–07 February 1863), banker and artist, was born in Hudson, Columbia County, New York, the son of Samuel Edmonds, a military officer, and Lydia Worth. Edmonds’s education from the age of about six to about fifteen took place in a Quaker school where his artistic abilities gradually won the approval of the schoolmaster. Initially Edmonds had wanted to become an engraver, but his ambition was squelched by the prohibitive apprenticeship fees. His early independent training included creating designs for wood engravers, which infused his artistic vision with a penchant for precision and detail....

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Robert Fulton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102509).

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Fulton, Robert (14 November 1765–23 February 1815), artist, engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on a farm in Little Britain (later Fulton) Township, south of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Fulton, a Scotch-Irish tailor and tradesman, and Mary Smith. Fulton’s father had left the prosperous market town of Lancaster to establish his family on the land, but like so many others with the same goal, he failed. The farm and the dwelling were sold at sheriff’s sale in 1772, and he took his family back to Lancaster. He died two years later....

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Sartain, John (24 October 1808–25 October 1897), entrepreneurial engraver and publisher, was born in London, England, the son of John Sartain, a shoemaker, and Ann Burgess. Before Sartain was eight years old, his father died, and by age twelve he was working as an assistant to a theatrical pyrotechnist and scene painter. At fourteen he received an inheritance from his grandmother and apprenticed himself to the engraver John Swaine. Fortunate in being asked to complete the engravings for William Ottley’s ...

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Savage, Edward (26 November 1761–06 July 1817), artist and museum proprietor, was born in Princeton, Massachusetts, the son of Seth Savage and Lydia Craige, occupations unknown. Savage, a self-taught artist, may have worked first as a goldsmith. His earliest paintings include a naively proportioned group portrait of his parents, grandfather, and siblings (c. 1779, Worcester Art Museum), copies of portraits by Boston colonial artist ...