Portrait of Electa Kinney Ferris

Stephen Ferris made this pencil portrait of his mother from memory in 1890. She had died in 1848 near Yorkville, Illinois, after the birth of her fourteenth child, when Ferris was a boy of thirteen. Contrary to a contemporary biography’s claim that he was orphaned at ten, Ferris belonged to a large family which became even larger with his father’s remarriage. As a boy Ferris lived with a maternal uncle who offered him a chance to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from the age of seventeen.
Object Name
date made
original artist
Ferris, Stephen James
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
graphite (overall material)
image: 10 cm x 9 cm; 3 15/16 in x 3 9/16 in
sheet: 23.5 cm x 16.5 cm; 9 1/4 in x 6 1/2 in
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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