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The Café and Courtyard will be closed Sunday, Nov. 17 in preparation for a special event. The museums will close at 5:00 pm, at which point visitors will be directed to exit through the building’s F street lobby. The G street exit and ramp will remain accessible to those who need it. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Margaret Fuller

Frederick T. Stuart, 1837 - 1913
Copy after
John Plumbe, Jr., Jul 1809 - Jul 1857
Margaret Fuller, 23 May 1810 - 19 Jul 1850
c. 1870
Engraving, stipple, and roulette on paper
Image: 11.2 × 9.1 cm (4 7/16 × 3 9/16")
Sheet: 30.4 × 22.6 cm (11 15/16 × 8 7/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
Exhibition Label
Margaret Fuller’s landmark text, Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), critically examined the role of women in society. It argued that marriage should be an equal partnership, insisting that women be given the same property rights as men. Fuller’s progressive ideas countered nineteenth-century common law, which allowed men to control married women’s legal status, earnings, and property. She acknowledged women’s great capabilities when she urged, “Let them be sea-captains if you will.” The first edition sold out in two weeks. Daguerreotypes of Fuller from an 1846 sitting, like the one pictured below, served as compositional bases for many subsequent prints, including the one on display here. In this vignette-style engraving, lace and ribbons adorn Fuller’s neck and wrists. She rests her head on her hand as she reads a book, hinting at her keen intellect. Often overlooked as an early feminist because of her emphasis on transcendental spiritualism, Fuller’s work nonetheless centers upon female autonomy and selfhood.
En su trascendental texto Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845), Margaret Fuller efectuó un análisis crítico del papel de la mujer en la sociedad. Afirmaba que el matrimonio debía ser una sociedad equitativa y que las mujeres debían tener igual derecho que los hombres a poseer bienes. Sus ideas progresistas impugnaban las leyes maritales del siglo XIX, que permitían a los hombres controlar el estatus legal, los ingresos y las propiedades de sus esposas. Reafirmando las capacidades de las mujeres, exhortó: “Déjenlas ser capitanas del barco”. La primera edición se vendió en dos semanas. Daguerrotipos de una sesión de fotos de Fuller en 1846, como el ilustrado abajo, sirvieron de base para muchas estampas posteriores. En este grabado estilo viñeta, luce encajes y cintas en el cuello y las muñecas, apoyando la cabeza en una mano mientras lee un libro, alusión a su intelecto. Aunque su énfasis en el espiritualismo trascendental suele impedir que se le sitúe entre las primeras feministas, su trabajo reivindica la autonomía y la identidad de la mujer.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence
On View
NPG, South Gallery 120