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James Bowdoin

James Bowdoin Oil on canvas
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[ This description is from the project: Revolutionary-era Art and Artifacts ]

This portrait of James Bowdoin, a Harvard graduate and the first president of the Massachusetts Bank, was completed by an unknown artist based on a miniature by John Singleton Copley.

James Bowdoin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1726. He graduated from Harvard College in 1745 where he was later an overseer and benefactor. He married Elizabeth Erving in 1748. Bowdoin was the first president of the Massachusetts Bank, and a member of the General Court for various terms over 35 years beginning in 1753. He was also the first president of the Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1780 until his death. He was governor of Massachusetts from 1785 to 1787. He owned extensive lands in Maine as well as in Boston, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, was named in his honor in 1794. James Bowdoin died in Boston in 1790.