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Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich

Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich
Usage Conditions Apply
Anders Leonard Zorn, 18 Feb 1860 - 1920
Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, 6 Nov 1841 - 16 Apr 1915
Oil on canvas
130.8 x 97.8cm (51 1/2 x 38 1/2")
Frame: 145.7 x 111.8 x 6.4cm (57 3/8 x 44 x 2 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Stephanie Edgell in memory of Elsie Aldrich Campbell
Object number
Exhibition Label
From 1881, when the Rhode Island legislature appointed Congressman Nelson Aldrich to fill a vacant Senate seat, through his reelections in 1886, 1892, 1898, and 1904, Aldrich became one of the most powerful figures in the upper house. Aldrich's ascendancy marked a period when the Republican Party transformed itself, focusing on making America an industrial world power rather than on its original goals of emancipation and civil rights. Although Aldrich worked closely in the Senate with business leaders, he appears to have been honest, sincerely believing that the general welfare of America was best served by government and business working together. Nonetheless, Aldrich was a wealthy man who became wealthier in the Senate; it was all appropriately symbolized by the wedding of his daughter to John D. Rockefeller Jr.
The Swedish artist Anders Zorn, who made numerous visits to America after 1893, noted that Aldrich was one of his more difficult sitters because of the expression of his eyes.
Stephanie Edgell, granddaughter of sitter; gift 1969 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection