Lot of 2 CDV studio portraits of Anderson Ruffin Abbot (1837-1913), comprising:
CDV full-length portrait of Anderson Ruffin Abbott. Mathew Brady: New York & Washington DC, n.d. circa 1863. Imprints on recto and verso. Contemporary pen inscription on verso identifies Abbott and his military designation. Abbott is photographed wearing a three-piece suit and his academic robe with three velvet stripes visible on each sleeve. His hand rests on a book. Taken during Abbott’s time serving as a surgeon in the Union Army.
CDV vignette bust portrait of Anderson Ruffin Abbott. John Goldin & Co.: Washington DC, n.d., circa 1864-5. Imprint and 2-cent revenue stamp to verso. Abbott is pictured wearing his military uniform with his shoulder boards visible. Two CDV portraits of Abbott are held by the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections at the Toronto Public Library including a portrait of Abbott in his military uniform taken by Brady (S90.A.R.ABBOTT.PHOTO.NO.37), perhaps taken at the same sitting as the first image here. Neither view offered here was found in other examples.
Abbott led a prestigious life with the distinction of being the first Canadian-born Black doctor. His parents were free people of color who fled Alabama when their store was looted and after settling briefly in New York, relocated to Toronto in 1835 after experiencing further racial tensions. His parents purchased property around the city and amassed considerable wealth allowing Anderson access to a fine education. Studying at Oberlin College in Ohio, one of the few integrated American colleges, he later returned to Canada to attend the Toronto School of Medicine and to study under African American doctor Alexander Thomas Augusta who was practicing in Toronto. Abbott received his medical license in 1861 from the Medical Board of Upper Canada to become the first Canadian-born Black doctor. In Toronto, he married Mary Ann Casey (1855-1931) on August 9, 1871, a CDV portrait of her is included as Lot 58. Together they would have three daughters and two sons.
In February 1863, Abbott applied for a commission as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army but was denied. He then reapplied as a “medical cadet” and was accepted as a civilian surgeon under contract in the newly created US Colored Troops. He served in several hospitals from June 1863 through the end of the war including the Freedmen’s Hospital which eventually became a part of Howard University, and was the head of a hospital in Arlington, Virginia. Notably, Abbott was one of several doctors in attendance during President Lincoln’s final hours after he was shot. Mary Todd Lincoln later presented Abbott with a plaid shawl worn by Lincoln at his first inauguration as a gift of appreciation.
Brady CDV - smudge and a small nick.
Goldin CDV - somewhat faded with mild spotting.
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