A long-term loan to the National Portrait Gallery, A Will of Their Own: Judith Sargent Murray and Women of Achievement in the Early Republic situated eighteenth-century American painter John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Judith Sargent Murray at the center of an installation focused on the portraits of early American women writers, scholars, political agents, and leaders. By highlighting Judith S. Murray, a philosopher and playwright whose landmark essay “On the Equality of the Sexes” predated Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women by two years, alongside the images of her contemporaries, A Will of Their Own showcased the important achievements of women during this period and their early efforts to gain gender equality in the United States. The run of the exhibition also included gallery talks, a scholarly symposium, and educational programming.
Dates & Venue
April 20, 2012–September 2, 2013
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., United States
Works of Art from the Terra Foundation Collection
John Singleton Copley, Portrait of Mrs. John Stevens (Judith Sargent, later Mrs. John Murray), 1770–72
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery held a public symposium in conjunction with the exhibition A Will of Their Own: Judith Sargent Murray and Women of Achievement in the Early Republic on Friday, October 19, 2012.