Laura Wheeler Waring

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Laura Wheeler Waring

Laura Wheeler Waring (May 16, 1887 – February 3, 1948) was an African-American artist and educator, best known for her paintings of prominent African Americans produced during the Harlem Renaissance.

Life and career[edit]

Laura Wheeler was born May 16, 1887 in Hartford, Connecticut, the fourth child of six born to Mary (Freeman) and Reverend Robert Foster Wheeler. Her mother was a daughter of Amos Noë Freeman, a Presbyterian minister, and Christiana Williams Freeman, who had been prominent in anti-slavery activities, including the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine and Brooklyn, New York.[1] Laura graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1906 and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, graduating in 1914.[2][3]

Waring worked at Cheyney Training School for Teachers in Philadelphia. She established and directed art and music programs for more than thirty years.[3]

She began to draw attention to her paintings during a 1924 European trip, when she traveled with novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset.[3] Waring was among the artists displayed in the country's first art exhibition dedicated to African-American art, held in 1927 by the William E. Harmon Foundation.[2] She was commissioned by the Harmon Foundation to do portraits of prominent African Americans.[2] Her work was soon displayed in American institutions, including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.[3]

In 1927 Laura Wheeler married Walter E. Waring, a Lincoln University professor.[3]

She died on February 3, 1948, in her Philadelphia home after a long illness.[3]

Selected portraits[edit]

W.E.B. DuBois - NARA - 559200.jpg James Weldon Johnson - NARA - 559201.jpg "Anne Washington Derry" - NARA - 559139.jpg
W. E. B. Du Bois James Weldon Johnson Anne Washington Derry


  1. ^ "Abyssinian Congregational Church", Portland Freedom Trail, 2007
  2. ^ a b c Art and Culture: Exploring Freedom/Laura Wheeler Waring, African American World, PBS-WNET
  3. ^ a b c d e f Biography: "Laura Wheeler Waring", Black, accessed 28 January 2014