On its website the National Portrait Gallery states the museum "...tells the history of America through individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story."

Here are some of those people...

Samuel Clemens: Who hasn't read the classic stories he wrote under his pen name Mark Twain?

Henry Clay Frick (along with his daughter, Helen): He made his fortune supplying coke for steel manufacturing; he then partnered with Andrew Carnegie to form the world's largest steel company. At his death he donated his extensive collection of European paintings to create the celebrated Frick Collection in New York City.

Andrew Carnegie: He sold his Carnegie Steel Company to J.P. Morgan which created U.S. Steel. Having built one of the world's largest fortunes, Carnegie gave away over $350 million during his lifetime, 90% of his fortune: He stated, "The individual who amasses great wealth must in the end apply his fortune for the benefit of all."


Daniel Boone: Boone spent his life pushing westward, always dissatisfied with where he was. Eventually he ended up in Kentucky, opening that area for white settlement. One reason Boone kept moving was that when the government caught up with him on the trail he had blazed, it usually voided his land claims and expelled him. Although the reality of Boone's career did not embody the romantic legend others applied to it, the persistence of Boone as a symbol indicates how strongly the idea of a lone frontiersman shaped American history.

Dave Crockett: Unlike Daniel Boone, Crockett created a totally different image of the frontiersman: a jocular, colorful type who liked tall tales and whiskey. Crockett was a soldier, state representative from Tennessee, an author and a road showman. He is however most noted for fighting, and dying, in the Battle of Alamo.

Ulysses S. Grant: Not interested in the military, Grant only entered West Point to receive an education. Unsuccessful in business ventures, he reentered the military at the beginning of the Civil War. Eventually President Lincoln made him commander of the entire Union Army. He was elected to two terms as president.

The National Portrait Gallery presents the wonderful diversity of individuals who have left, and are leaving, their mark on our country and our culture. In my next blog post I'll show you a few more.

Admission is always FREE at the National Portrait Gallery. Click here to visit the National Portrait Gallery's website. 

All photos in this blog post were taken by me during my visit in September, 2013.

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