Every Collection has a Story. The Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.  

James Barton Longacre

February 22, 1969

The Nineteenth Century Gallery of Distinguished Americans opens at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit focuses on The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, published between  1834 and 1839.  In 1831 James Herring, a portrait painter and promoter of the arts, persuaded the American Academy of Fine Arts to support the publication of the book. His partner in the venture was James Barton Longacre, a well-known Philadelphia engraver. Their goal to collect American portraits at the Academy for the use of artists and scholars was not realized until the 1968 opening of the National Portrait Gallery.

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