David Bustill Bowser
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|David Bustill Bowser|
Banner of the 22nd Regiment US Colored Troops
|Born||January 16, 1820
|Died||June 30, 1900
|Known for||Portraits, ornamentation, painting|
|Notable work||Portraits of John Brown, Abraham Lincoln; regimental banners|
Bowser attended a private school run by his cousin Sarah Mapps Douglass and studied art with his cousin Robert Douglass, Jr., an African-American pupil of Thomas Sully. During the American Civil War, he was commissioned to design banners for several regiments of U.S. Colored Troops that were formed after the Emancipation Proclamation at Camp William Penn, just outside Philadelphia. He painted a portrait of famed abolitionist John Brown, who sat for the painting at the Bowser home, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Son of Jeremiah Bowser (1766–1856), a fugitive slave whose freedom was purchased by a group of Philadelphia Quakers, and grandson of Cyrus Bustill (1732–1806), who was an early member of the Free African Society, he was also the cousin of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He married Elizabeth Harriet Stevens Gray (June 13, 1831 – November 29, 1908); their children included son Raphael Bowser, also an artist, and daughter Ida Elizabeth Bowser Asbury (1870–1955), a violinist and music teacher.
- Samella S. Lewis, African American art and artists, University of California Press, 2003.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Bustill Bowser.|
- Works by or about David Bustill Bowser at Internet Archive
- Historical marker placed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
- David Bustill Bowser at Find a Grave
- Portrait of John Brown by David Bustill Bowser
- Portrait of Abraham Lincoln by David Bustill Bowser
- Selections of nineteenth-century Afro-American Art, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Bowser
- Prints of Bowser's regimental banners at the Library of Congress:
- We will prove ourselves men - 127th Regt. U.S. Colored Troops
- Sic semper tyrannis - 22nd Regt. U.S. Colored Troops
- Rather die freemen than live to be slaves - 3rd United States Colored Troops
- Presented by a committee of ladies of Phila. Oct. 1863 3rd United States Colored Troops.
- One cause, one country - 45th Regt. U.S. Colored Troops