Portrait of Pvt. George R. Rome

Portrait of Pvt. George R. Rome

Collection ID

ART.001146

Type

Photograph

Date

ca. 1860s

Geography

United States

Language

N/A

Medium

Matboard, tintype, and pigment

Dimensions

3.7 × 2.6 in. (9.4 × 6.5 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The Impact of the Bible, Bible in America


George R. Rome was one of nearly 180,000 African Americans to fight for the United States during the Civil War. Rome was born in 1835 to free African American parents living in Providence, Rhode Island. He later moved to Worchester, Massachusetts. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he and other African Americans were initially denied enlistment. The US government reversed its policy in 1863, however, and Rome joined the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment the following year. He survived the war and died in 1900. This hand-colored tintype, an early form of photography, shows Rome dressed in his uniform and is part of a small collection of his items in the museum’s care, including his pocket New Testament.

Created in the 1860s by an unknown photographer. Acquired by an anonymous collector, United States;[1] Consigned in 2010 to Swann Auction Galleries, New York; Acquired in 2010 by Seth Kaller, Inc., White Plains, New York; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible.

Notes: [1] This tintype, along with the Bible mentioned in the description, were consigned to auction with several other items associated with Rome at Swann Auction Galleries in 2010. The collection went unsold. A representative from Swann was unable to provide further information about the seller. See Swann Galleries, New York, Printed & Manuscript African Americana, Feb. 25, 2010, Lot 281 (Email from Swann Auction Galleries to Museum of the Bible, June 4, 2019).

Description

George R. Rome was one of nearly 180,000 African Americans to fight for the United States during the Civil War. Rome was born in 1835 to free African American parents living in Providence, Rhode Island. He later moved to Worchester, Massachusetts. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he and other African Americans were initially denied enlistment. The US government reversed its policy in 1863, however, and Rome joined the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment the following year. He survived the war and died in 1900. This hand-colored tintype, an early form of photography, shows Rome dressed in his uniform and is part of a small collection of his items in the museum’s care, including his pocket New Testament.


Provenance

Created in the 1860s by an unknown photographer. Acquired by an anonymous collector, United States;[1] Consigned in 2010 to Swann Auction Galleries, New York; Acquired in 2010 by Seth Kaller, Inc., White Plains, New York; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible.

Notes: [1] This tintype, along with the Bible mentioned in the description, were consigned to auction with several other items associated with Rome at Swann Auction Galleries in 2010. The collection went unsold. A representative from Swann was unable to provide further information about the seller. See Swann Galleries, New York, Printed & Manuscript African Americana, Feb. 25, 2010, Lot 281 (Email from Swann Auction Galleries to Museum of the Bible, June 4, 2019).


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