Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BUTTRE, John Chester, engraver, born in Auburn, New York, 10 June, 1821. He obtained his education in the district-schools and in Auburn academy. The first drawing-lessons he received were from one Hulaniski, a Polish exile residing in Auburn; and afterward, while assisting his father, he devoted his leisure to the study of portrait-painting. In the practice of this art friends assisted him; but he did not succeed as well with colors as in drawing, and his attention was directed to wood-engraving. His first attempt in this line was a series of small penny toy primers. By degrees the work progressed, and in time he did the business of a general engraver, including card-plates, wood-cuts for the newspapers, marking silver-ware, and various kinds of simple work. In 1841 he removed to New York, and thereafter gave his attention to steel-plate engraving. His productions were soon in demand, and appeared in many of the magazines. About 1858 he executed a full-length portrait of President Buchanan, which was then regarded as one of the best specimens of' that kind of work. He also engraved and published a successful full-length portrait of Martha Washington. During the civil war he published "The Empty Sleeve," "Only a Little Brook," "Prayer in Camp," and several similar pictures, which had an extensive sale. His work includes the engraving of nearly 3,000 plates, and it is his pride that orders have come to him on account of his merit, without solicitation. He has published in parts "The American Portrait Gallery," of which the letter-press was prepared by his daughter, Lillian C. Buttre (3 vols., New York. 1880-'81).
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