Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Robert C. Hinckley (American, 1853-1941)
Before 1888
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 35 in x 30 in; 88.9 cm x 76.2 cm
This portrait of Edward Everett, which is a copy was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Hinckley on August 13, 1888.
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Edward Everett (1794–1865) was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College and combined an academic career with politics. Everett taught Greek literature and eventually became Harvard’s president. He was also a pastor in the Unitarian church. He served several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1836 was elected governor of Massachusetts. In 1841 Secretary of State Daniel Webster appointed Everett, his friend, minister to France, a position he held for four years. This diplomatic experience proved valuable in 1852, when Webster died while serving as secretary of state, and President Fillmore appointed Everett to take Webster’s place. 

Everett’s time as secretary was brief, just four months, but he facilitated the opening of Japan to American trade. In addition, he recognized Peru’s rights to the Lobos Islands, even though the United States had pursued an interest in its rich guano deposits that could be used as fertilizer and in explosive materials. Everett also shaped U.S. policy toward Cuba, rejecting a proposal from Britain and France that the United States join in guaranteeing Spanish control of the island. Instead, Everett stated that the United States would not enter into alliances but would maintain an interest in Cuba.

A respected orator and writer, Everett returned to the U.S. Senate at the end of Fillmore’s term and is perhaps best known for his two-hour-long oration at the dedication of the Gettysburg military cemetery in 1863, preceding President Abraham Lincoln’s two-minute and justly famous Gettysburg Address.