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Sarah T. Bolton

Sarah T. Bolton
Unidentified Artist
Sarah Tittle Barrett Bolton, 1814 - 1893
c. 1850
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
Image: 8.8 × 6.3 cm (3 7/16 × 2 1/2")
Sheet: 10.5 × 8.1 cm (4 1/8 × 3 3/16")
Case Open: 11.7 × 19 × 0. 6cm (4 5/8 × 7 1/2 × 1/4")
Case Closed: 11.7 × 9.5 × 1.2 cm (4 5/8 × 3 3/4 × 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Newport, Kentucky
Among the wave of women writers who emerged during America’s antebellum publishing boom, poet and reformer Sarah T. Bolton first published her verses in an Indiana newspaper at the age of thirteen. She went on to pen more than 150 works. Though sentimental by modern standards, Bolton’s poetry struck a chord with Victorian readers. Her best-known poem, “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (1851), championed individual initiative in overcoming adversity and included a call to, “Battle for the right. / And break the chains that bind / the mighty to the few.” An advocate for women’s prop- erty rights, Bolton lobbied unsuccessfully for their protection in Indiana’s state constitution.
Nacida en Newport, Kentucky
Poeta y reformista, Sarah T. Bolton fue parte de la ola de escritoras que surgieron durante el boom editorial anterior a la Guerra Civil Estadounidense. Publicó sus primeros versos a los 13 años en un periódico de Indiana, y llegó a producir más de 150 obras. Aunque hoy se consideraría sentimental, su poesía caló hondo en los lectores de la era victo- riana. Su poema más conocido, “Paddle Your Own Canoe” (1851), defiende la iniciativa individual ante la adversidad con un llamado a “Luchar por la justicia. / Y romper las cadenas que atan / el poder a unos pocos”. Defensora del derecho de la mujer a la propiedad, Bolton abogó sin éxito por dicha protec- ción bajo la constitución estatal de Indiana.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection