Benjamin Paul Akers

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Benjamin Paul Akers
01-Akers Benjamin Paul-03.jpg
Photo portrait of Paul Akers
Born (1825-07-10)July 10, 1825
Westbrook, Maine
Died May 21, 1861(1861-05-21) (aged 35)
Nationality American
Known for Sculpture
Awards Commemorative Silver Medal in 1854
Patron(s) Samuel Appleton and John Neal
Signature of Paul Akers

Benjamin Paul Akers (July 10, 1825 – May 21, 1861) was an American sculptor, from Maine.

Early life[edit]

Born in Saccarappa, Maine in 1825, into a large and indigent family of rural Maine. When his father, Deacon Akers, moved the family from Saccarappa to Salmon Falls on the Saco River, he started a wood-turning mill. For six years as a young man he worked in his father's "wood turning" mill. There he invented beautiful patterns and "turned" toys. His brother, Charles "Carl" Akers was also a sculptor and crayon portrait artist. He wrote articles on art for the Atlantic Monthly and also "The Crayon" a short-lived, New York art magazine in the mid-19th century.[1] He spent the winter of 1849 in Boston learning the art of plaster casting with the sculptor, Joseph Carew. In 1850 he opened a studio in Portland, Maine. He received a "Commemorative Silver Medal" in the 1854 Exhibition and Fair of the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association. He moved to Boston in 1849 where he was an apprentice. The award was for his bas relief called "Peace".[2] In 1855, at age 30, he went to Rome, Italy where he worked for several years.[3]


Among his works are busts of Edward Everett and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a head of John Milton and [[The Dead [4] Pearl Diver]], on display at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. Nathaniel Hawthorne described Dead Pearl Diver as an important work of the protagonist, Kenyon, in his novel The Marble Faun, acknowledging his debt to Akers in the introduction.

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1858 he met Elizabeth Akers Allen a young mother, journalist and poet. They married in August 1860. Their only child, Gertrude Rothermel, died in infancy. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 21, 1861 from tuberculosis.[5] He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery (Portland, Maine).[6]


Museums and public art galleries worldwide[edit]

Books About Benjamin Paul Akers[edit]

National art databases and museum inventories[edit]


  1. ^ Archives of American Art
  2. ^ Usher, Leila Woodman (1895). "Benjamin Paul Akers". New England magazine: an illustrated monthly. 11: 461–468. 
  3. ^ Maine Memory
  4. ^ Portland Museum of Art
  5. ^ Chest of Books
  6. ^ Find-A-Grave
  7. ^ Art Encyclopedia

External links[edit]