|Self portrait attributed to Albert Newsam c. 1850|
Albert Newsam was born deaf and mute May 20, 1809 in Steubenville, Ohio. At the age of eleven years Newsam was taken to Philadelphia by William P. Davis, who posed as a deaf-mute brother. Davis intended to exploit the boy's artistic skills for his own gai n but Newsam was rescued by the president of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Bishop White. This enabled Newsam to secure a safe haven at the institute where he received an education.
In 1827 Cephas G. Childs took on Newsam as an apprentice at his engraving, and later, lithography firm. By 1829 Newsam was supplying Childs with many of the prints he offered to the public. When Childs left the business in 1834 Newsam continued to work for the new owners, George Lehman and Peter S. Duval.
Newsam was most noted for his portraits. In the early part of his career he often drew them from life; in later years he worked from photographs and daguerrotypes. Eventually Newsam became the principal artist at Peter S. Duval's firm. In 1838 Duval issued ten numbers in a series called the Parlour Review. This weekly magazine was issued in French and English and included four pages of music per issue. It also featured portraits drawn by Albert Newsam of famous composers and performers, including Beethoven, Bellini, Cherubini, Rossini, Paganini, Talma, and Catalani.
Newsam's eyesight began to fail in 1857 and in 1858 or 1859 he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. He died November 20, 1864, near Wilmington, Delaware.
Some of Newsam's lithograph portraits and artwork can be seen in the right-hand column HERE, clicking on a thumbnail image will enlarge it.
Born on 20 May 1809 in Steubenville, Ohio. Chart set for 12 noon - no time of birth known.
Albert Newsam was cruelly denied communication by speech and hearing, relying only on sign language, and his art. Is this indicated, or reflected, in his natal chart by the conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in early Sagittarius opposing his Sun, Mercury and Venus conjunction which straddles the cusp of Taurus/Gemini ? Pluto squares natal Mercury too, but Chiron, "wounded healer" trines Mercury from Aquarius, allowing some relief.
Interestingly (perhaps) Louis Braille, the blind organist who invented the Braille system of communication for the blind was born in 1809, on 4 January. He was of the Neptune conjunct Saturn group also, in his case the Neptune/Saturn conjunction semi-sextiled (a tad widely) his Sun and Mercury.