[Mary] Edmonia Lewis (1845-1911)
The Old Arrowmaker and His Daughter , or The Wooing of Hiawatha , 1872
21 1/2 x 13 5/8 x 13 3/8
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Gift of Joseph S. Sinclair

The African-American sculptor Edmonia Lewis, like the African-American painter Robert Duncanson, responded warmly to the poet Longfellow, perhaps partly because of the strong abolitionist views expressed in his Poems on Slavery (1842). Lewis was of mixed heritage, her mother being part Ojibwe, and that also influenced her choice of subject matter. She made many small marble figural groups inspired by The Song of Hiawatha, which were sculpted in Rome, where she spent most of her professional career.