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 Theodore Russell Davis  (1840 - 1894)

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/Kansas/Massachusetts      Known for: illustrator, Civil War reportorial

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
With a long, diverse career as an illustrator, especially of Civil War subjects, Theodore Davis, known as Theo, is said to have "covered more areas of the fighting than any other artist." His work was highly detailed in documenting people and places, and much of it resulted from hurried notes he took during battles. He was wounded twice and had his horse shot out from under him.

In his Civil War reporting, he worked for Harper's, but traveled with William H. Russell, a neutral British journalist, and told people he was an artist for the Illustrated London News. This way, he also served as a spy for the North because he learned much about Southern weaponry. Sometimes he was in the center of the action, especially when he traveled with General Grant's staff at the Vicksburg campaign and was part of General Sherman's March to the Sea.

After the War, he continued reportorial work for Harper's, recording Southern reconstruction and travelling extensively in the Far West. He was one of the first artists to document the Sioux Indians, and in 1865, helped fight against one of their attacks on an Overland Stage leaving Atchison, Kansas. He was with General Custer in 1867 and traveled with Hancock's Indian Expedition in 1867. Towards the end of his career, he retired to Asbury Park, New Jersey to do free-lance work. He was a consultant on cyclorama painting projects and for the July, 1889 issue of St. Nicholas magazine, wrote a treatise titled How a Battle is Sketched.

"The Illustrator in America", 1860-2000, by Walt Reed
"Who Was Who in American Art" by Peter Falk

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Boston, 1840; died Asbury Park, NJ, Nov. 10, 1894. Illustrator. Instructed in drawing and wood engraving. Joined Harper's Weekly as an illustrator in 1861. Prolific Civil War Artist. Made a trip west in 1865 by way of Louisiana, Texas and Kansas then went by stage to Denver and on to Santa Fe. His sketches were published in Harper's. In approximately 1867 he was invited by General Hancock to accompany the Indian expedition in Kansas. A number of sketches of Kansas scenes are known from this trip.
NY Public Library.

Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Dawdy, Doris Ostrander. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Chicago: Swallow Press, 1974. Samuels, Peggy. Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1976.; Reed, Walt. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. New York: Society of Illustrators, 2001., Walt. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. New York: Society of Illustrators, 2001.; AskArt,, accessed Sept. 2, 2005; Taft, Lorado. History of American Sculpture. New edition with supplemental chapter by Adeline Adams. New York: Macmillan Co, 1930.
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.

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Civil War Art

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