Oliver Tarbell Eddy

(1799 - 1868)

Oliver Tarbell Eddy was born in Greenbush, Vermont; he was the oldest son of Isaac Eddy, an inventor, printer, and engraver. When Oliver was 15, his father began to teach him to engrave on copper. It was as a portrait painter that he would earn his living and his acclaim, however. As a painter he worked in the style of Rembrandt Peale and was best known for portraits of individuals and groups.

In 1822 Eddy married Jane Maria Burger in Newburgh, New York. In 1826 he moved to New York City, where he worked as a portrait and miniature painter. In the early 1830s he moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey, and in 1835 he moved to Newark. Eddy painted at least thirteen portraits of members of the family of William Rankin, a hat manufacturer. He has been called “Newark’s greatest portrait painter of the Romantic period.”

Eddy left New Jersey in 1841, moving to Baltimore, Maryland. In Baltimore he continued to paint portraits and invented a precursor of the typewriter and patented several other inventions. . After ten years in Baltimore he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1850 and stayed there until his death. He is buried in Woodlands Cemetery. Eddy’s paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Newark Museum and the Maryland Historical Society.

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