Mysterious New England: Hannibal Hamlin’s Artist


By Carla Charter

BANGOR, ME. – The Bangor Historical Society recently received a painting of Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s Vice President for the first term and Bangor’s most famous resident.    “The donation was from a Massachusetts family who was distantly related to the Hamlin family and wanted the painting to come back to Bangor,” according to Matt Bishop, Curator and Operations Manager at the Bangor Historical Society.  The question is who was the artist?

Hannibal Hamlin moved to Bangor in 1834-1835 and owned a home in Bangor for many years.  A monument to Hamlin stands at Bangor’s Kenduskeag Mall.  Along with serving as vice president, Hamlin served in the United States House and Senate as well as the Maine House of Representatives.  He also served one year as the Maine Governor before moving on to the senate. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.

“When the painting was appraised, we were told the portrait of Hannibal Hamlin was painted in the American School Style in the early to mid-nineteenth century. There is a partial label on the back but we do not know if it is from the framer or the artist, with the words George and New York. The painting is oil on board and it is 21×16 ¾ in size,” Bishop said.

The painting as well as other items belonging to Hamlin are on display at the museum.  These items include a wooden desk taken from Hamlin’s home, several items from the Lincoln-Hamlin campaign as well as several other family and household artifacts.

Those who may have information on the Hamlin painting artist, can contact the Bangor Historical Society at curator@bangorhistoricalsociety.org