Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Portrait
Title Benjamin Hardin Portrait
Catalog Number 1977.25.2
Creator Helm, Katherine
Maker Helm, Katherine
Date ca. 1900
Material(s) Canvas
Dimensions H-30.125 W-25 D-0.875 inches
Description This is a bust portrait of Benjamin Hardin. The portrait depicts an older gentleman with wispy golden hair and green eyes. He is wearing a dark coat with a tan vest and white collared undershirt. Wrapped around the collar there is a black tied scarf or neckpiece. The figure is standing before a dark grey background.
Notes Benjamin Hardin (1784-1852) was a Representative from Kentucky and a cousin of Martin Davis Hardin. Born at the Georges Creek settlement in Westmoreland County, Pa, his family traveled to Washington County, KY in 1788. He was admitted to the bar in 1806 and created a practice in Elizabethtown and Bardstown, KY. He served as a member of the State house of representatives in 1810, 1811, 1824 and 1825. He also served the State senate 1828-1832. He was elected to Congress on several occasions and was also the Secretary of State (1844-1847). He is buried on a family plot near Springfield, Ky.

Katherine Helm (1857-1937) was a daughter of Confederate General Ben Hardin Helm and Emilie Todd Helm, a half-sister to Mary Todd Lincoln. Katherine is most well known for her portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln that currently hangs in the White House. This portrait she painted based on how she imagined her aunt's attire on Lincoln's inauguration in 1861. She studied art at the Art Students' League in New York City and for a time maintained a studio up there. However, she would return to Kentucky 1912 until her death she lived and painted at Helm Place on Bowman's Mill Road. It was here where she painted portraitures of governors and other heroes of the south, from both photographs and imagination. Many of her works were displayed in the Kentucky Building of the World's Fair in Saint Louis. She wrote the novel "The True Story of Mary, Wife of Lincoln" and has an autobiography about her written by William H. Townsend entitled "Lincoln's 'Rebel' Niece, Katherine Helm, Artist and Author (1945).
Collection Dorothy Helm Martin Estate Collection
People Helm, Katherine
Hardin, Benjamin
Subjects Art
Oil paintings
Political representation
Politics & government
Portrait paintings
Representation, Political
Search Terms Washington County (Ky.)
Nelson County (Ky.)
Springfield (Ky.)
Bardstown (Ky.)
Secretary of State of Kentucky
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS