Bust of James Peck Thomas
- Creator:Edmonia Lewis
- Title:Bust of James Peck Thomas
- Description:This carved white marble bust-length portrait of a middle-aged man with mustache wearing a suit coat, vest, collarless shirt, and tie is mounted on a pedestal.
- Historical Note:James Peck Thomas (b. 1827) was the son of Sally Thomas, a slave born in Virginia in 1787, and John C. Catron, a Nashville attorney. Sally Thomas and her two older sons came to Nashville to live on lands owned by the Thomas family around 1817. Although still a slave, Sally Thomas was able rent a house in the city and take in laundry for pay. She persuaded prominent Nashville attorney Ephraim Hubbard Foster to "purchase" her younger son James with her money, thus ensuring that he could remain in Nashville after an 1834 ruling that all free blacks had to leave the state. When Sally Thomas died in 1850, her son purchased a plot for her in the Nashville City Cemetery. In 1851, Foster posted bond for James in order to guarantee his good behavior. James, who had worked as a barber in Nashville, ultimately made his fortune in real estate in St. Louis. In 1873, he visited the famous American sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1845-1907) at her studio in Rome and commissioned this portrait bust.
- Institution:Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio. R.T. Miller, Jr. Fund
- Rights:Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images, contact the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College.