Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

United States of America flag

Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1906)
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 29 in x 24 in; 73.66 cm x 60.96 cm
This portrait of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen was purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Huntington on July 16, 1885, after Mr. Frelinghuysen's death.
Signed "D. Huntington 1885"
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


Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen (1817–1885) was born at Millstone, New Jersey. He graduated from Rutgers University. A lawyer by training, he served as New Jersey attorney general and in 1866 was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he represented his state for almost a decade. He worked in a private law practice until he was appointed secretary of state by President Chester Arthur. 

As secretary, Frelinghuysen inherited a number of diplomatic issues related to the expansion of U.S. power. While he mediated a peaceful settlement to the War of the Pacific among Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, he withdrew from further actions in Latin America, concerned that the United States was not viewed favorably. He canceled the Pan-American Conference that his predecessor had planned and refused to arbitrate a dispute between Venezuela and Britain over Guyana’s western border in South America. Nevertheless, despite the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, he tried to secure for the United States exclusive rights to construct and control a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the treaty. In 1844, when German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck called a conference in Berlin to mediate the European scramble for colonies in Africa, Frelinghuysen declined to participate but sent observers, who accepted the conclusions of the conference. Frelinghuysen also secured a trade treaty with Korea.

Frelinghuysen died shortly after the end of President Arthur’s term.