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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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John Banvard

BANVARD, John, artist, born in New York about 1820. He was educated at the New York high school, and at an early age showed decided talent for drawing and for writing verses. When he was fifteen years old his father lost a large sum of money. John then went to Louisville, Kentucky, and, after some experience as clerk in a drug-store, led a life of adventure, supporting himself by painting pictures and exhibiting them at New Orleans, Natchez, Cincinnati, and other towns, traveling from place to place in a boat. At one time he executed a panorama of Venice. and exhibited it with success. Finally the idea occurred to him to paint a panorama of the entire Mississippi river. He began this task in 1840, traveling thousands of miles alone in an open skiff, living on what game he could shoot, and earning money to buy drawing materials by painting and exhibiting pictures. When he had made the preliminary drawings they were transferred to canvas in a building erected for the purpose in Louisville, Kentucky. When finished, the panorama covered about half a mile of canvas, though it was advertised and became known as the "three-mile picture." He afterward exhibited it in this country and abroad. The artistic merits of the painting were not great, but it was a faithful picture of the Mississippi, and as such attracted a great deal of attention. He afterward traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and painted many pictures, which he exhibited. During the war Mr. Banvard pointed out to General Fremont how Island No. 10 could be passed by a canal and certain bayous, and made charts showing the route. These suggestions were successfully followed out by Fremont's successor. Mr. Banvard is the author of about 1,700 poems, more than 200 of which have appeared in magazines in this country and Great Britain, and he is now preparing to publish a collection of them. He has published "Description of the Mississippi River" (London, 1849); " Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" (New York, 1852) ; "Amasis, or the Last of the Pharaohs" (Boston, 1864) ; "The Private Life of a King "(New York, 1876); and "The Tradition of the Temple," a poem (New York, 1883). He has also written several dramas, two of which have been acted: "Amasis" at the Boston theatre in 1864, and "Carrinia" at the Broadway theatre, New York, in 1875. Mr. Banvard painted the picture from which the first chromo made in America was taken. It was entitled "The Orison" (New York, 1861).-His brother, Joseph, author, born in New York City, 9 May 1810. He was graduated at Newton theological institute in 1835, and has been pastor of Baptist Churches in Salem, Boston, and West Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Paterson, New Jersey, and Independence, Mo. He was chosen president of the National theological institute and University at Washington, District of Columbia, but resigned. He has written "Priscilla," an historical tale (New York, 1854); "Novelties of the New World"; "The Romance of American History "; "Tragic Scenes in the History of Maryland" (New York, 1856) ; "The American Statesman," a memoir of Daniel Webster (1853); " Wisdom. Wit, and Whims of the Old Philosophers" (1854);" Plymouth and the Pilgrims" ; many books for children on natural history, and a large number of Sunday-school question-books.

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