Edmonia Lewis (Sculptor) – Bio, Birthday, Family, Age & Born


Mary Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. Born free in New York, she was the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame and recognition as a sculptor in the fine arts world. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture. She began to gain prominence in the United States during the American Civil War; at the end of the 19th century, she remained the only black woman who had participated in and been recognized to any degree by the American artistic mainstream. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Edmonia Lewis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

Born: Mary Edmonia Lewis, July 4, 1844, Greenbush, New York, US
Died: September 17, 1907, London, UK
Nationality: Mississauga Ojibwe (mother) and Afro-Haitian (father)
Education: New York Central College, Oberlin College
Known for: Sculpture
Movement: Late Neoclassicism

About Edmonia Lewis

New York-born artist whose career as a sculptor took her to Rome, Italy. Her famous sculptures include The Death of Cleopatra (more than 3,000 pounds and made of marble) and Forever Free (a celebration of the end of slavery).

Before Fame

After graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to begin her career as a sculptor.


Her Native American ancestry inspired an 1866 sculpture entitled Old Arrow-Maker and His Daughter.

Family Life

She was born in New York City to a family of Haitian, African, African-American, and Mississauga Ojibwe heritage.


She created an 1868 sculpture based on the character of Minnehaha in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s The Song of Hiawatha.

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Latest information about Edmonia Lewis updated on September 16, 2020.

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