Skip to main content

Mother of Henry O. Tanner

@ Smithsonian American Art Museum


Henry Ossawa Tanner’s mother, Sarah Elizabeth Miller, was one of eleven children born to a slave who sent her children to freedom by the Underground Railroad. Members of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society divided the children into various families, sending Sarah to Pittsburgh. In this portrait, Tanner captured the wisdom and experience of a woman who had endured much in her life, rising from slavery to raise well-educated and successful children. Tanner kept this portrait in his personal collection and spoke affectionately of it in letters to his family.
Oil On Plywood
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. Nicholas Zervas
View Original At:

Record Contributed By

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution