Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thomas Buchanan Read

(United States Public Domain)

Native Pennsylvanian, Thomas Buchanan Read, born in 1822, had many talents. He painted, sculpted, and wrote in various genres. Although he had a huge following while he lived, most people now only know read more
him because of his poem, “Sheridan’s Ride” and his corresponding painting. 

Mr. Read's natural artistic talents gained a big boost when he became acquainted with an art patron, Nicholas Longworth. Mr. Longworth provided a place for him to paint and introduced him to other people who had the money to buy artwork. Thomas Read worked hard at portrait painting and painted the portraits of many famous people including presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison and poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

 The Painting, "Sheridan's Ride"
and O
pening Lines from
the Poem, "Sheridan's Ride"

(United States Public Domain)

Another writer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, helped Mr. Read along the way by encouraging him to express himself in poetry and article writing. War even inspired Mr. Read while he served as a soldier in the Civil War. He spent time writing patriotic songs.  Later, he even wrote one serial fictional story for a magazine.

His success didn't come quickly or easily. Mr. Read was an industrious fellow. Before his art work and writing became profitable, he tackled any kind of job to make a living including making cigars and engraving tombstones. He also painted signs and canal boats.

Another noteworthy artistic success was his thirty-seven sketches of immigrants along the central Pennsylvania Susquehanna River.

 Here is a poem he wrote about Pennsylvania.

    Fair Pennsylvania!
    Than thy woodland vales
     Twist  hills of green, and bound afar
     By billowy mountains rolling in the blue
      No lovelier landscape meets the traveler's eye

Ruth Snyder’s blog tour specifications challenged me to choose a favorite character. Since I write nonfiction about Pennsylvania, I chose a real life person. See the other entries to Ruth Snyder’s blog tour at:

Christian Work: Illustrated Family Newspaper, Volume 58. June 20, 1895, p. 937. Google Books. Web, Jan. 2015.
Pennsylvania: Biographical Dictionary. Wilmington: American Historical Publications, Inc.  1989. Print.
“Thomas Buchanan Read Historical Marker.” WITF, Web. 18 July 2012 <>
Lefferts, Walter. Noted Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1913. Print.
Principe, Michael S. “Read, Thomas Buchanan.” Summer 2007. The Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Web. 18 July 2012 < Thomas Buchanan.html>
Schwartz, Abby S. “Nicholas Longworth: Art Patron of Cinncinati” Cincinnati Museum Library. Web, Jan. 2015.
Venable , Emerson . "Poets of Ohio." Google Books. Cincinnati, The Robert Clarke Company , n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2014. <>.
Wikipedia, Thomas Buchanan Read. Web, Feb. 2015.


  1. Interesting gentleman! Funny how one can relate to someone who lived so long ago. (I'm eclectically-interested and eclectically-involved myself. :D)

    1. Me, too. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Sandy,
    Thanks for introducing us to Thomas Read. I profiled Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, on my musical countdown to Christmas. History is fascinating when you approach it from personal perspectives.