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Profile in Paper


The idea of a “National Portrait Gallery” conjures up visions of grand painted canvases. But one of the most intriguing portraits in the History Center’s new exhibition, Smithsonian s Portraits of Pittsburgh: Works from the National Portrait Gallery, is a tiny image created with cut paper. The silhouette is identified as Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809), Thomas Jefferson s personal secretary and famed leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The portrait s creation is attributed to Dolley Madison (1768–1849), wife of James Madison, founding father and fourth president of the United States. How did these two famous Americans meet and what connection between them could explain this image?

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