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LOÏS MAILOU JONES (1905 - 1998) Josiah Henson.
Charcoal on buff wove paper, 1938. 406x330 mm; 16x13 inches. Signed in charcoal, lower right recto. Signed and inscribed "signed April 28, 1990" in ink, verso.
Provenance: the James K. Hill collection.
Illustrated: Carter G. Woodson, African Heroes and Heroines, 1939. This portrait drawing is one of 30 that Jones created for Carter G. Woodson's book.
According to Jones's inscription in ink on the frame back, this charcoal drawing portrait was also later published as a cover illustration for a 1971 publication of Carter G. Woodson's pamphlet African Then and Now.
Josiah Henson (1789 – 1883) was an author, abolitionist, and minister. Born into slavery, in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland, he escaped to Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1830, and founded a settlement and laborer's school for other fugitive slaves at Dawn, near Dresden, in Kent County, Upper Canada, of Ontario. Henson's autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself (1849), is believed to have inspired the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Following the success of Stowe's novel, Henson issued an expanded version of his memoir in 1858, Truth Stranger Than Fiction. Father Henson's Story of His Own Life. Interest in his life continued, and nearly two decades later, his life story was updated and published as Uncle Tom's Story of His Life: An Autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson in 1876.