Maria Howard Weeden

Maria Howard Weeden
Portrait of Maria Howard Weeden.jpg
Born(1846-07-06)July 6, 1846
DiedApril 12, 1905(1905-04-12) (aged 58)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Resting placeMaple Hill Cemetery
ResidenceWeeden House
NationalityAmerican
EducationTuskegee Women's College
OccupationPainter, poet
Known forArt and poetry

Maria Howard Weeden (July 6, 1846 – April 12, 1905), who signed her work and published as Howard Weeden, was an American artist and poet based in Huntsville, Alabama. After the American Civil War, she began to sell works she painted, which included portraits of many African-American freedmen and freedwomen. She exhibited her work in Berlin and Paris in 1895, where it was well received. She published four books of her poetry from 1898 to 1904, illustrated with her own art. She was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1998.

Early life

Weeden was born July 6, 1846 in Huntsville, Alabama, six months after the death of her father, Dr. William Weeden, who had also been a prosperous planter. Her mother was his second wife, the former widow Jane (nee Urquhart) Watkins. Weeden and her five older siblings were raised by their mother in the Weeden House in Huntsville.[1]

During the Civil War, the Union Army took over their house for use by its officers when it occupied the city in 1862. The family first moved to the slave quarters.[2] When Jane, one of the older Weeden daughters, was attending college in Tuskegee, Alabama, the mother moved the rest of the family there. Maria Weeden also attended the same school, Tuskegee Female College during the war years.[2][3] (It later became known as Huntingdon College.) She had written poetry and painted since childhood, and at college studied with painter William Frye.[4]

After returning to Huntsville, Weeden began to paint cards, booklets, dinner cards, and small gifts to sell to help her family. Some were watercolors of flowers and landscapes. She also taught art classes.[3][5][6]

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