Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, 1 Jan 1750 - 4 Jun 1801
Oil on canvas with applied wood strip
119.5cm x 94cm (47 1/16" x 37"), Accurate
Frame: 133.4 x 108 x 7.6cm (52 1/2 x 42 1/2 x 3")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, a former Lutheran minister and a member of the most prominent German family in America, was elected the first Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. A jolly fellow famous for his oyster suppers, Muhlenberg had considerable experience as a presiding officer; he had served a stint as president of the Continental Congress and had presided over the state convention called to ratify the Constitution in 1787. With President George Washington coming from the South and Vice President John Adams hailing from New England, Muhlenburg's selection provided a nice geographic balance for the new government's start.
Muhlenberg is pictured in the act of signing House Bill 65, "An Act to regulate Trade and Intercourse with the Indian Tribes," which he did on July 20, 1790.
Virginia M. Brooke [Mrs. George Brooke], Wyomissing, Pa.; purchased 1974