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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RANSOM, CAROLINE L. ORMES

RANSOM, CAROLINE L. ORMES

RANSOM, CAROLINE L. ORMES (1838-18 Feb. 1910) was a portrait painter born in Newark, Ohio, daugther of John and Elizabeth Ransom. She began her art education in New York, taught by A. B. Durand, Thos. Hicks, and Donald Huntington in landscapes, figure painting, and portraits. She then studied 2 years with Wilhelm von Kaulkoch in Munich. Ransom returned to America in 1860, setting up a studio in Cleveland. Her specialty was portraits, and her subjects included Col. CHAS. W. WHITTLESEY, first president of the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY; Gen. Jas. B. McPherson; Benjamin Franklin Wade, lawyer and statesman; and Gen. JAS A. GARFIELD in military dress.

Ransom was paid an extraordinary amount of money for the time for her portraits. In 1867, Congress allowed $1,000 for a portrait of JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS, and in 1875, $15,000 for one of Gen. Geo. H. Thomas. Both likenesses were hung in the Capitol in Washington.

In 1876, Ransom was unanimously elected an honorary member of the Army of the Cumberland, the only woman so honored. She was a founder of the Daughters of the American Revolution (see PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES).

She moved to Washington, D.C., in 1884, combining her studio and living quarters so she could paint constantly. The walls were covered with copies of the masters' works and her own work in progress. Ransom also founded the Classical Society and was its leader for 15 years.

Never married, Ransom died in Washington D.C. and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.