(1820 - 1897)
James William Abert was active/lived in New York, Kansas, New Jersey. James Abert is known for sketch artist-expedition.
Born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, James Abert became a topographical
artist with the corps of engineers and made several expeditions into
the West from which he did illustrated reports with watercolor
In 1838, he entered the Military Academy at West
Point, after attending Princeton University, and after West Point
Graduation in 1842 was assigned to a U.S. Infantry Regiment at Detroit
and then transferred to the Corps of Topographical Engineers in 1843.
1845, he joined the survey party of Captain John C Fremont from Bent's
Fort, near what is now La Junta, Colorado, to explore and map the
Canadian River from the headwaters in New Mexico across the Texas
Panhandle to the Arkansas River in Indian Territory near Fort Gibson.
On this trip, Abert did numerous watercolor sketches, and after
completion of the journey, went to St. Louis.
In 1846, he was part of a New Mexico survey from Santa Fe to Socorro.
1848 to 1850, he was assistant in drawing at West Point and also taught
moral philosophy, English literature, and composition. During the
1850s he worked on the improvement of western rivers and spent two
years in Florida followed by travels in Europe where he studied
fortifications and arsenals. During the Civil War, he was with
the Corps of Engineers in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but
resigned in 1864 because of injuries from a fall from a horse.
the Civil War, he had a mercantile business in Cincinnati from 1865 to
1865, was a patent examiner in Washington DC from 1868 to 1871, and
from 1877 to 1879 was professor of mathematics and drawing at the
University of Missouri in Columbia. In 1895, he was appointed a
Major in the Army by a special act of Congress and took retirement
under that auspices. For awhile he then served as president of a
state teacher-examining board in Kentucky and contributed writings to
magazine in the area.
He died at his home in Newport, Kentucky.
Dictionary of Artists in America by George Groce and David Wallace
Texas Painters, Sculptors, and Graphic Artists, John and Deborah Powers
James William Abert was born on November 18, 1820 in Mount Holly, NJ
and died on August 19, 1897, in Newport, KY. He was a
draughtsman. James William Abert graduated from Princeton
University and U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was a
member of the Corps of Topographical Engineers who illustrated his
1846-47 trip from Fort Leavenworth to New Mexico. Taught drawing
at West Point, served with the Army Corps of Engineers, operated a
mercantile business in Cincinnati, OH, and taught English literature at
the Univ. of Missouri.
Abert's work has been reprinted in books such as, Through the
Country of the Comanche Indians in the Fall of the Year 1845:The
Journal of a U.S. Army Expedition Led by Lieutenant James W. Abert of
the Topographical Engineers, Artist Extraordinary Whose Paintings of
Indians and their Wild West Illustrate this Book (San Francisco: J. Howell, 1970), Western
America in 1846-1847:The Original Travel Diary of Lieutenant J.W.
Abert, Who Mapped New Mexico for the United States Army (San Francisco: J. Howell, 1966), and Expedition to the Southwest: An 1845 Reconnaissance of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma (Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1999).
Fred Rosenstock Collection,Columbia, MO
Thomas Streeter Collection, Morristown, NJ
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.
Dawdy; Handbook of Texas Online
www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/AA/fab11.html accessed July 22, 2005