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Name: Oliver Tarbell Eddy
Dates: (1799 - 1868)
Nationality: American
Biography: Oliver Tarbell Eddy was born in Greenbush, Vermont, the oldest son of inventor, printer and engraver Isaac Eddy, who traced his ancestry back to the Mayflower. Although his father taught him how to engrave on copper, he seems to have been primarily self-taught. In 1822 Eddy married Jane Maria Burger in Newburgh, New York; her father Thomas Burger was a silversmith. By 1826 Eddy was in New York City working as a portrait and miniature painter. The following year he exhibited a portrait at the National Academy of Design. He moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1831 and remained there until 1835, when he settled in Newark. William Gerdts has suggested that he relocated to that city because a distant relative, the Reverend Ansel Doane Eddy was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church there.1 The artist was extremely successful in Newark, and painted at least thirteen portraits of members of the family of William Rankin, a hat manufacturer. Eddy lived in Baltimore from 1842 to 1850, painting portraits and inventing a precursor of the typewriter. He lived in Philadelphia from 1850 until his death, and was buried in Woodlands Cemetery.2


1 Gerdts, Art Across America, vol. 1, p. 230.
2 The standard study of Eddy is Edith Bishop, Oliver Tarbell Eddy, 1799-1868 [exh. cat., The Newark Museum] (New Jersey, 1950).

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