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Peter Williams (1750–1823)

Object Name: Portrait
Date: ca. 1810-1815
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Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Overall: 25 x 20 1/4 in. ( 63.5 x 51.4 cm ) Framed: 30 1/4 × 25 1/8 × 1 7/8 in. (76.8 × 63.8 × 4.8 cm)
Credit Line: New-York Historical Society
Object Number: X.173
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Williams, who was born a slave in New York, was an ardent Methodist and served as sexton of the John Street Methodist Church. He and his wife, née Mary Durham (1748–1821), were given their freedom in 1796 by the Methodist Society, and Williams subsequently operated a successful tobacconist shop on Liberty Street. He supported the establishment of the Zion Church for Negroes in 1801 and was one of the original trustees.


Lent to the National Portrait Gallery in 1973