James Henry Beard

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James Henry Beard

Birthplace: Buffalo, Erie County, New York, United States
Death: Died in Flushing, Queens County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt. James Beard and Harriet Beard
Husband of Mary Caroline Beard
Father of Daniel C. Beard, Founder of the Boy Scout of America; Harry Beard; Frank Beard; james Beard; Caroline Grubb and 1 other
Brother of William Holbrook Beard; Julia Eliza Blair; Hannah Chambers and Harriet W. Burnett

Occupation: Portrait painter
Managed by: Mike McCarthy
Last Updated:

About James Henry Beard



Hello Fellow Seekers,

I found this article in some data among my sister's (Mrs. John Everett Beard) files. I thought it might be of value to someone on this site. I am starting to do research oh her husbands family and will enter that in another request.

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I don't know the exact reference for the article (it appears to have been in a biographical encyclopedia), however the article lists the following references: H. T. Tuckerman "Book of the Artists" (6th edition 1882); L. Mead "Apprenticeship of an Academician" American Magazine IX 192; Ruth Beard, Geneal. of the descendants of Widow Martha Beard of Milford, Conn. -1915: N.Y. Tribune, and N.Y. Herald, Apr. 6, 1893.

Beard, James Henry (May 20, 1812-Apr 4, 1893), artist, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., the son of Capt. james and Harriet (Wolcott) Beard. He was descended on his father's side from Sir James Beard and on his mother's side from Sir Lochlan Mac Lean. he was the brother of William Holbrook Beard [q.v.], who was likewise an artist. Capt. Beard moved his family to a farm near Painesville, Ohio, and died when James was eleven years old. An itinerant portrait painter gave the boy his first thoughts of becoming an artist and when the traveller left town young james started painting portraits on his own account, charging five dollars for head and fifteen fora portrait including the hand holding a book. At the age of seventeen he ran away from home and worked his way to Pittsburgh. He then worked on the Ohio River, acting as a shipping clerk on a river boat. He lived in Cincinnati about the year 1835. Shortly after that date he made a second visit to Pittsburgh. He now decided to try his fortunes in the South, visiting first louisville, and then making his way down to New Orleans. He finally returned to Cincinnati, where he married on August 28, 1833, Mary Caroline Carter, the daughter of Col. Thomas Carter, and where he lived for several years. There he made the acquaintance and won the friendship of many prominent men from both North and South who has him paint their portraits. Among the sitters to his brush were Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, Gen. Harrison, and Gen. Taylor. Harriet Martineau expressed her admiration for Beard in her book of travels in America. In 1846 he went to New York City, where he exhibited his picture entitled "North Carolina Emigrants," for which he received $750. He was a charter member of the Century Club. In 1848 he was made an honoray member of the National Academy. During the Civil War he served in the Union Army on the staff of Gen. Lew Wallace [note- Wallace later wrote Ben Hur], with the rank of captain. In 1870 he returned to New Yirk and in 1872 was elected a National Academician. In 1887, he painted a portrait of Gen. Sherman. During his later years he relinquished portrait painting almost entirely and devoted his attention of painting animals. Whereas his brother, W. H. Beard, showed a fondness for the painting of wild animal life, he himself preferred to paint domestic animals. "The Streets of New York," "The Window," and "There's Many A Slip" are the titles of some of mhis compositions. He died Apr. 4, 1893, at Flushing, L. I. His four sons, James Carter Beard [q. v.], Harry Beard (1841-1889), Thomas Francis Beard [q.v], and Daniel Carter Beard (1850) all became well-known as artists.

Karen L. Eagle Moman


From the S9 Biographical Dictionary:



  • 1811 - James Henry Beard was born in Buffalo, New York. American portrait painter.
  • 1822 - At the age of eleven moved with his family to Painesville, Ohio. Beard taught himself how to paint and worked for a number of years as an itinerant portrait painter in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Louisville.
  • 1834 - He settled in Cincinnati, Ohio and wintered in New Orleans.
  • 1846 - Beard was active in New York City and moved there permanently.
  • [1848 - He was made an associate member of the National Academy of Design.
  • 1872 - Was elected a full member in the National Academy of Design.
  • 1880 - 'He’s Not for Sale' exemplifies two abilities for which Beard’s contemporaries admired him the most, sentimental portraits of children and images of dogs. 'The Penitent' and the particularly engaging 'Hounded Pup' are representative examples of Beard’s humorous, anthropomorphic interpretations of his canine subjects.
  • 1893 - Beard died in Flushing, Queens.
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James Henry Beard's Timeline

May 20, 1812
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, United States
June 21, 1850
Age 38
Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, United States
April 4, 1893
Age 80
Flushing, Queens County, New York, United States