Palmer, Erastus Dow, 1817-1904

Alternative names
Birth 1817-04-02
Death 1904-03-09

Biographical notes:


From the description of Letter of Erastus Dow Palmer, 1896. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79454830

Erastus Dow Palmer was a self-taught sculptor from the state of New York. He had only six months of formal schooling before being apprenticed as a carpenter. Palmer's talents were evident at a young age. When he was 9 he built his own sawmill, and at 17, he left his hometown, Pompey, NY, for Amsterdam, NY, where he worked as a carpenter, wood carver, and cabinet maker. In 1843, Palmer married Mary Jane Seaman and relocated to Utica. Shortly after his marriage, he made a cameo portrait of his wife, which led to his work as a cameo-cutter. Palmer produced approximately 200 of them in his first two years of work. In 1846, he moved to Albany and began his career as a sculptor, doing reliefs, primarily for churches, and busts. At an 1850 exhibit at the National Academy of Design, Palmer's work attracted a good deal of attention; as a result, he was made an honorary member. Notable sitters for his numerous busts included Washington Irving, Moses Taylor, Erastus Corning, and Governor Morgan. In 1873, Palmer went to Europe to study for a short time. In Paris, he began the bronze statue of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston that was commissioned by the state of New York and placed in the United States Capitol in 1874. Palmer died in Albany.

From the description of Letters and photos, 1856-1983, 1856-1880 (bulk dates). (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 81906332

Sculptor; Albany, N.Y.

Was self-taught. Was an expert joiner, patternmaker, and cameo cutter as well.

From the description of Erastus Dow Palmer letter, 1868 March 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122393949


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  • Busts
  • Sculpture--19th century
  • Artists--Autographs
  • Political activists--19th century
  • Sculpture, Modern--19th century
  • Cameos
  • Picture frames and framing
  • Portrait medallions
  • Sculptors


  • Sculptors
  • Artists--New York (State)
  • Carpenters


  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)