Biography and History

Born in Connecticut in 1756, John Trumbull was the son of Jonathan Trumbull, who became a governor of Connecticut. Trumbull graduated from Harvard University in 1773. As a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, he rendered a particular service at Boston by sketching plans of the British works, and he witnessed the famous Battle of Bunker Hill. Trumbull was also appointed second personal aide to General George Washington, and in June 1776 he was deputy adjutant-general to General Horatio Gates. However, Trumbull resigned from the army in 1777. In 1780 he traveled to London where he studied under Benjamin West, the Anglo-American painter of historical scenes. West suggested to him that he paint small pictures of scenes from the War of Independence and miniature portraits, of which Trumbull produced about two hundred and fifty in his lifetime. He is remembered as the"Painter of the American Revolution."

Source: From the finding aid for C1237

  • John Trumbull Collection. 1768-1842 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1237

    Consists of selected correspondence and documents of John Trumbull, the American artist known as the "Painter of the American Revolution." One of his historical paintings, Declaration of Independence, was used for the image on the reverse of the U.S. $2 dollar bill.