Main Content

Jane Irwin Harrison

This portrait of Jane Irwin Harrison by an unknown artist was completed c. 184142. Jane Findlay Irwin Harrison served as the official White House hostess briefly in 1841, during father-in-law President William Henry Harrisons administration. She had lived with her in-laws following the death of her husband, William Henry Harrison Jr., and accompanied the president-elect to Washington, D.C. There, she received glowing reviews for the two receptions that she hosted with the help of her aunt, Jane Irwin Findlay. Her time as de-facto first lady was cut short, however, when President Harrison died on April 4, 1841, after only a month in office. With flowers placed at each ear and a veil pulled back from her face, this portrait was probably made to celebrate Jane Harrisons second marriage, to widower Lewis Whiteman, following her return to North Bend, Ohio. Just a few years later, she succumbed to tuberculosis at age 42.
Date of Work
ca. 184142
oil paint, canvas
Smithsonians National Museum of American History