James B. Longacre
James Barton Longacre was an American portraitist and engraver. He was the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death. Longacre is best known for designing the Indian Head cent, which entered commerce in 1859. He also designed the Shield nickel, Flying Eagle cent and other coins of the mid-19th century.
About James B. Longacre in brief
James Barton Longacre was an American portraitist and engraver. He was the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death. Longacre is best known for designing the Indian Head cent, which entered commerce in 1859, and for the designs of the Shield nickel, Flying Eagle cent and other coins of the mid-19th century. He died suddenly on New Year’s Day 1869; he was succeeded by William Barber. His work is generally well-regarded today, although they have been criticized for lack of artistic advancement. He portrayed the leading men of his day; support from some of them, such as South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun, led to his appointment as chief engravers in 1844. In 1856, Longacre designed the Flying Eagle per cent. He also designed the silver and nickel three-cent pieces, the Shield Nickel, the pattern Washington nickel, and the two-cent piece. His major work there was portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Hancock which were placed on a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence by publisher John Binns. His first important commission were for S. F. Bradford’s Encyclopedia in 1820; an engraving of General Andrew Jackson was based on plates by Longacre based on a portrait by Thomas Sully Jackson. He then agreed to engrave illustrations for Joseph Sanderson’s Biographies of the Signers of the Independence, published in nine volumes between 1820 and 1827.
Although criticism of the writing, sales were good enough that the project was completed in 1826. He later proposed to issue his own set of illustrated biographies with plates of actors in their roles in The American Theater, published from 1826 to 1828. His last work was a set of illustrations of the actors in the American Theater of their roles, published between 1828 and 1829. He is survived by his wife, Mary, and their two children, Mary Longacre, and a son, James Longacre Jr., who was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, on August 11, 1794. His mother Sarah Longacre died early in his life; his father, Peter, was the descendant of early Swedish settlers of North America. When Peter Longacre remarried, his son found the home life intolerable, and he left home at the age of 12, seeking work in the nearby city of Philadelphia. He apprenticed himself at a bookstore; the owner, John E. Watson, took the boy into his family. Over the following years, he worked in the bookstore, but Watson realized that the boy’s skill was in portraiture. He struck out on his own in 1819, making a name providing illustrations for popular biographical books. He remained at the Murray firm until 1819; his major workThere was the man who would be Longacre’s predecessor as chiefengraver, Christian Gobrecht, from 1816 to 1819.