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Pauline Cushman

Attribution
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Printer
Chicago Albumen Works
Sitter
Pauline Cushman, 10 Jun 1833 - 2 Dec 1893
Date
1864 (printed later)
Type
Photograph
Medium
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Dimensions
Image: 8.8 × 5.8 cm (3 7/16 × 2 5/16")
Sheet: 12.7 × 10.2 cm (5 × 4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
NPG.81.M623.D1
Exhibition Label
Born New Orleans, Louisiana
A brief but harrowing career as a Union spy trans- formed minor actress Pauline Cushman into a major celebrity. In 1863, while appearing in a play in Union- occupied Louisville, Kentucky, Cushman gained entrée to Confederate circles by publically feigning Southern sympathies. Hailed as the darling of the rebel troops, she gathered intelligence for the North until her duplicity was discovered. Arrested, tried, and condemned to hang, she was rescued by Union forces before the sentence could be carried out.
In recognition of Cushman’s service to the nation, she received a commendation from President Lincoln and was awarded the honorary rank of major. In June 1864, P. T. Barnum advertised that “MISS MAJOR PAULINE CUSHMAN! THE FAMOUS UNION SPY AND SCOUT,” would recount her “EXTRAORDINARY EXPLOITS and ADVENTURES”during a series of appearances at his American Museum. Barnum also advised patrons that “elegant” carte de visite portraits of Cushman would be offered for sale.
Nacida en Nueva Orleans, Luisiana
Una breve y peligrosa carrera como espía de la Unión transformó a la modesta actriz Pauline Cushman en celebridad. En 1863, mientras actuaba en Louisville, Kentucky, ciudad ocupada por la Unión, Cushman obtuvo acceso a los círculos confederados fingiendo simpatía por el sur. Se convirtió en la actriz mimada de las tropas rebeldes y obtuvo información para el norte hasta que la descubrieron. Fue arrestada, juzgada y condenada a la horca, pero las fuerzas de la Unión la rescataron antes de su ejecución.
Por sus servicios a la nación recibió un recono- cimiento del presidente Lincoln y el rango honorario de mayor del ejército. En junio de 1864, P. T. Barnum anunció que “¡LA SRTA. MAYOR PAULINE CUSHMAN! LA FAMOSA ESPÍA DE LA UNIÓN”, relataría sus “EXTRAORDINARIAS HAZAÑAS y AVENTURAS” en una serie de presentaciones en su American Museum. Barnum añadió que se venderían a los asistentes retratos “elegantes” de Cushman tipo carte de visite.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Exhibition
Storied Women of the Civil War Era
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York