Sarah J. Eddy

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Sarah J. Eddy
Mrs Sarah Jane Eddy, Bristol Ferry, R.I.
Born Sarah James Eddy
(1851-05-03)May 3, 1851
Boston, Massachusetts U.S.
Died March 29, 1945(1945-03-29) (aged 93)
Portsmouth, Rhode Island U.S.
Alma mater Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Art Students League
Occupation Artist
Years active 1890-1945

Sarah James Eddy (May 3, 1851 – March 29, 1945)[1][2] was an American artist and photographer who specialized in the platinotype process, also known as platinum prints.[3] She was active in abolition, reform, and suffragist movements,[4] and was a philanthropist as well as instrumental in the founding of the Rhode Island Humane Society.[5]

Early life[edit]

Eddy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to James Eddy, who worked as a painter and engraver,[2] and Elisa Eddy (née Jackson).[6][7]:331 Her maternal grandfather was the abolitionist, Francis Jackson, and her maternal great uncle was Massachusetts politician, William Jackson, who was also against slavery.[2] On her paternal side, Eddy comes from a large New England family that originally came from Cranbrook, Kent.

Eddy studied painting and sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and New York's Art Students League. One of her teachers was Christian Schussele. Eddy began exhibiting photographs in 1890, at nearly 40 years of age. Her most important exhibitions were at the New School of American Photography and the selection of American Women photographers at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900.[1]



Eddy's photography appeared in American and foreign exhibitions until about 1910. She preferred photographing women, children, and artists,[1] and her photographs were included in camera club exhibitions in Providence and Hartford, and were frequently shown at the Boston Camera Club.[1] Juries for photography salons accepted her work in Philadelphia (1898), Pittsburgh (1899, 1900), and Washington, D.C. (1896). In 1903, her pictures were included in salons in Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Toronto.[3]

In 1894, Eddy wrote and illustrated a short article "A Good Use for the Camera" for The American Annual of Photography. In the article, Eddy concludes that the personal interactions she had with her photographic subjects were as rewarding as the finished images. She writes, "We enter into sympathetic relations with the people who furnish us with pictures. We are grateful to them and they are very grateful to us. We meet on common ground." The American Annual of Photography subsequently ran illustrations by her in 1895 and 1902.[8]


In 1883, Eddy painted a portrait of African-American social reformer, Frederick Douglass. In the portrait, Douglass holds a baton that symbolizes his authority during his tenure as marshal of the District of Columbia. Douglass sat for the portrait twice during the summer of 1883.[4] Eddy also painted a portrait of Susan B. Anthony,[9] a copy of which was donated to Bryn Mawr College in 1920.[10][11]

Activism & philanthropy[edit]

Abolitionism & suffragist rights[edit]

Eddy's mother and other family members were active in the anti-slavery and suffrage movements.[7]:522 Eddy herself was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.[2]

Animal welfare[edit]

An animal welfare activist and vegetarian,[12] Eddy founded the Rhode Island Humane Education Association. Between 1899 and 1938, Eddy wrote or compiled five children's books on animals and their care, which featured photographs of her own felines.[1][12] At her death, she was the director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Eddy, who never married, died in her Bristol Ferry, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, home,[13] on March 29, 1945, at age ninety-three.[6][8] She was cremated at Forest Hills, Massachusetts, and buried in the Eddy Family Plot at the North Burial Ground in Providence, Rhode Island.[14]

Family tree[edit]

Some of her family members include:
Please note capitalization of surnames is typically used in genealogy trees

  • William EDDY
    • Samuel EDDY
      • Zachariah EDDY
        • Joshua EDDY
          • Benjamin EDDY
            • Zachariah EDDY
              • Benjamin EDDY. Married Sarah JAMES.
                • Zachariah EDDY. Born: 1788. Died: 1795.
                • Chester EDDY. Born: 1790. Died: 1790.
                • Eunice EDDY. Born: 1793. Died: 1793.
                • Betsey EDDY. Born: 1794. Died: 1794.
                • Sally EDDY. Born: 1796. Died: 1861.
                • Zachariah EDDY. Born: 1798. Died: 1824.
                • Abby EDDY. Born: 1800
                • James EDDY. Born: 1802. Died: 1802.
                • Eunice C EDDY. Born: 1804
                • James EDDY. Born: 29 May 1806, Providence, Rhode Island. Died: 18 May 1888, Providence, Rhode Island. Married to Eliza Frances JACKSON, 21 Sept 1848, Boston, Massachusetts.
                  • James EDDY. Born: 21 Jun 1849, Boston, Massachusetts. Died: 20 Sep 1853, Boston, Massachusetts.
                  • Sarah James EDDY. Born: 9 May 1851, Boston, Massachusetts. Died: 29 Mar 1945, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
                  • Benjamin EDDY. Born: 25 Aug 1853, Boston, Massachusetts. Died: 18 Dec 1853, Boston, Massachusetts.
                  • Amy EDDY. Born: 5 Dec 1854, Boston, Massachusetts.
                • Elizabeth EDDY. Born: 1809. Died: 1939


Library of Congress[edit]

Selections from Alexander and some other cats (1929)[edit]

Works and publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Peterson, Christian A. (2012). Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: History of Exhibitions, Publications, and Acquisitions with Biographies of All 243 Pictorialists in the Collection. Minneapolis, Minn.: Privately Published. p. 71. OCLC 824617933. 
  2. ^ a b c d Webster, Marjorie; Schmidt, Gloria (2 October 2014). "Hidden in Plain Sight: Sarah J. Eddy in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (1900-1945)" (PDF). Portsmouth Historical Society. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Moore, Clarence Bloomfield (March 1893). "Women Experts in Photography". The Cosmopolitan; a Monthly Illustrated Magazine (1886-1907). New York: Schlicht & Field [etc.]; International Magazine Co. 14 (5): 580–590. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Eddy, Sarah J. "Frederick Douglass. 1883". Frederick Douglass National Historic Site: District of Columbia. National Park Service, US Department of the Interior. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Sarah A. Eddy, Author And Philanthropist, 93". New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962). New York, N.Y.: IHT Corporation. 31 March 1945. p. 10A. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Sarah J. Eddy - Rhode Island Deaths and Burials". FamilySearch. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Eddy, Ruth Story Devereux, A.B., A.M., ed. (1930). The Eddy Family in America: A Genealogy. Compiled by Ruth Story Devereux Eddy, A.B., A.M. and Published Under the Direction of the Eddy Family Association, in Commemoration of the Three Hundredth Anniversary of the Landing of John and Samuel Eddy at Plymouth, October 29, 1630. Boston, Massachusetts: T. O. Metcalf Company. OCLC 608715552. 
  8. ^ a b Peterson, Christian (1 June 2013). "Approved biography for Sarah J. Eddy (Courtesy of Christian Peterson)". Luminous Lint. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Susan B. Anthony: Celebrating "A Heroic Life" | RBSCP". University of Rochester Libraries. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Eddy, Sarah James (1902). "Susan B. Anthony Portrait". Bryn Mawr College Collections. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Suffrage Cause and Bryn Mawr: Susan B. Anthony". Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  12. ^ a b McGraw, Jim (2 June 2014). "Have you met Portsmouth's Sarah J. Eddy?". East Bay RI. East Bay Newspapers. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Sarah J. Eddy House - 567 Bristol Ferry Road - Circa 1898" (PDF). Portsmouth Historical Society. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  14. ^ "Sarah J. Eddy". Find A Grave. Retrieved 17 June 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

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