About Catherine Sargent
Catherine Sargent was born in Gloucester in 1774, daughter of Epes and Dorcas (Babson) Sargent. She became active in the abolition movement along with her sister Henrietta, and they both became friends of William Lloyd Garrison and his family. She never married and died in her hometown in 1852 at age seventy-eight.1
Garrison wrote in her obituary for the Liberator:
- "the cause of the stricken slave, and of all identified with him by complexion, has lost one of its truest and best friends. Her sympathies were constantly affected, and her charities actively exercised, in behalf of the poor, the outcast, and the oppressed, without regard to color or race."2
Portrayed in her late sixties, Catherine Sargent sits squarely before the viewer, a sober and dignified woman of the mid-nineteenth century. The treatment of the sitter is highly individualized according to the well-known American desire for a truthful likeness, although Negus's realism is extreme compared to most other painters of her day. Careful attention is paid to the sitter's elaborate white lace day-cap and collar which contrast dramatically with the dark color of her plain dress and the simple stippled background.
- Emma Worcester Sargent and Charles Sprague Sargent. Epes Sargent of Gloucester and His Descendants. Boston, 1923, p.12.
- The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison. Louis Ruchames, ed. 6 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1971, 4:210n-211n.