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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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William Dunlap

DUNLAP, William, artist, born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1766" died in New York City, 28 September 1839. He came to the City of New York in 1777, and began to paint portraits, and in 1783 finished a likeness of Washington. In 1784 he went to London, where for several years he studied with Benjamin West. Returning to the United States, Mr. Dunlap became engaged in various artistic, dramatic, and other literary work. In 1789 " The Father," one of his best plays, was produced on the stage.

In 1796 he became connected with Hallam and Hodgkinson in the management of the old John Street theatre, and in 1798 assumed the management of the Park theatre, where, early in the season, his tragedy "Andr5" was successfully performed. During his administration, numerous imitations, alterations, adaptations, and translations of German and other foreign authors were successfully produced, many of which were published in pamphlet form, and held the stage in after years. Mr. Dunlap continued as manager and co manager of the Park theatre for several seasons, until he was overtaken by financial ruin. In 1814'16 he served as assistant paymaster general of the New York militia. Thereafter he again turned his attention to his early art, and produced a series of large and imposing paintings, mostly scriptural, among which "Christ Rejected," "Bearing the Cross," " Calvary," and " Death on the Pale Horse" obtained considerable reputation.

The last named was publicly exhibited in most of the large cities of the country. Mr. Dunlap is known as the founder and early vice president of the National academy of design. Both as a writer and painter he was a man of more than usual ability; but during a life of varied and ambitious experiment and uninterrupted industry he never attained financial success. A "Dunlap society" was organized in New York City in 1886, for the purpose of preserving the half-forgotten, meritorious plays of Dunlap and other olden American dramatists. In 1887 the society published, for distribution to its members, a small edition of "The Father," one of his comedies, and the second play written by an American author ; and also a volume of "Poetic Addresses," spoken at the openings of early American theatres, since 1752. His writings include a" Life of George Frederick Cooke" (London, 1813); "Life of Charles Brockden Brown" (Philadelphia, 1815); "History of the American Theatre" (New York, 1832: London, 1833); "History of the Rise and Progress of the Art of Design in the United States" (New York, 1834); "Thirty Years Ago, Memoirs of a WaterDrinker" (1836); and "New Netherlands, Province of New York" (1840). He wrote, translated, or adapted 63 plays.

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