Recent Bibliography



   Edmonia Lewis (c) A. Henderson      


NOW AVAILABLE: The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography,  by Harry Henderson ( co-author of A History of African American Art from 1792 to the Present) and Albert Henderson, winner of the eLit GOLD award: "Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence." Independent Opinion:  "The Hendersons’ monument of research and craftsmanship seeks to give Lewis the consideration that she has been denied—not dissimilar to the artist’s own commitment to proving her competitors and critics wrong, demonstrating that a minority could take on the hegemonic tradition of fine arts. The book provides crystalline accounts of Lewis’s feuds and mentorships, as well as rich illustrations of the works being discussed throughout. Overall, the authors deliver a well-constructed mix of primary resources, critical analysis and literary flourishes." - Kirkus Reviews. "Thank you so much for your excellent research ... Your work on Edmonia Lewis will be used for many years to come by scholars, art historians, art collectors and anyone interested in knowing more about this outstanding woman"  - Dr. Sheryl Colyer.  "Lewis’s story is all at once interesting and sad. Her life, while forgotten for a while is now making a come back among art historians and this immense work helps to secure her artistic legacy." Lifelong Dewey   "A key acquisition for any arts or African-American history holding. The authors' attention to precise scholarship provides all the details of a solid linear history and biography but the end result is anything but dry: it reads with the passion and drama of good literature." Midwest Book Review  "A definitive biography" Washington Times  "5.0 of 5 stars" - Links Goodreads

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Listings below may not have been reviewed and are not necessarily recommendations.

Recent Bibliography / Reading List

NEW:- 2016-20

Queens of Queen City, `Suhkuhegarequa “Wildfire” Edmonia Lewis' Online article on Edmonia Lewis's connections to Cincinnati. Feb 15, 2020.  

Sidedoor: "Finding Cleopatra." podcast  Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention… and then the sculpture disappeared. On this episode of Sidedoor, Lizzie Peabody interviews Marilyn Richardson, Kirsten Pai Buick and Karen Lemmey.

Kirstin Pai Buick,  "Confessions of an unintended reader: African American Art, American Art, and the Crucible of Naming," in The Routledge Companion to African American Art History, ed. Eddie Chambers. Routlege,  2019. 

Alice George, "Sculptor Edmonia Lewis shattered gender and race expectations in 19th-century America."  Smithsonian Magazine.  Aug. 22, 2019.  The Smithsonian Museums hold the largest collection of Edmonia Lewis's works.

Charmaine A. Nelson, et al. THE SCULPTOR: Edmonia Lewis. podcast. whatshernamepodcast  Jan. 2019.

Kirstin Pai Buick,  “Monu*ment*ality: Edmonia Lewis, Meta Fuller, Augusta Savage and the Re-Envisioning of Public Space.” in Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman, ed. by JM Hayes. Giles, 2018. "Buick places Savage’s sculpture and ethos alongside two contemporary black female sculptors, Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) and Meta Fuller (1877-1968)." -- Florida Times-Union.  Published as a catalogue for an exhibition of Savage's work at the Cummer Museum.

Charmaine A. Nelson, "The Black Female Figure," in Frieze, 7, August, 2018.  The extraordinary life of artist Mary Edmonia Lewis, a sculptor of African American and indigenous heritage who achieved international acclaim. 

Kirstin Pai Buick, "Propaganda Fide: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Catholic Church," in Beholding Christ and Christianity in African American Art, edited by James Romaine and Phoebe Wolfskill. Penn State University Press. 2018. "a fascinating and highly enjoyable volume ..."  Hardcover  ISBN: 978-0271077741

Penelope Green, "Overlooked No More: Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor of Worldwide Acclaim," The New York Times, June 25, 2018. Obituary. The NY Times covered Edmonia Lewis while she flourished, 1870-1879. Then, its editors lost sight of her in exile and post-Reconstruction politics. They ignored her 1907 death for more than 100 years, finally recognizing her in 2018. 

Talia Lavin, The Decades-Long Quest to Find and Honor Edmonia Lewis's Grave.  Hyperallergic, March 28, 2018. Article.

Karen Chernick, The Unlikely Success of Edmonia Lewis, a Black Sculptor in 19th-Century America, Artsy, Feb. 1.2018. Article.

Gloria Bell, “Edmonia Wildfire Lewis, An Indigenious Woman in Rome,” in First American Art Magazine, 16, Fall 2017, p. 40-46. Article. 

Jeannine Atkins, Stone Mirrors. The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 2017. "A fascinating, tantalizing glimpse. (bibliography) (Historical fiction in verse. ages 12-18)" ISBN: 978-1-4814-5905-1

Susanna W. Gold, The Unfinished Exhibition: Visualizing Myth, Memory, and the Shadow of the Civil War in Centennial America. Routlege. 2017.  Hardcover  ISBN:  978147280668 ebook ISBN: 9781315453132  Supporting novel iconographical interpretations with myriad primary source material, author Susanna W. Gold demonstrates how the art galleries and the audiences who visited them addressed the lingering traumas of battle, the uneasy re-unification of North and South, and the persisting racial tensions in the post-Emancipation era.

Pulitzer Prize 2017:  Tyehimba Jess, Olio.  Seattle and New York: Wave  ISBN 978-1-940696-20-1 [poems] "Alabaster Hands, Edmonia Lewis. 1862," "Forever Free, Edmonia Lewis, 1867," "Hagar in the Wilderness, Edmonia Lewis, Marble, 1875," "Hiawatha, Edmonia Lewis, 1868," "The Death of Cleopatra, Edmonia Lewis, 1876," "Indian Combat, Edmonia Lewis, Marble, 1868," "Minnehaha, Edmonia Lewis, Marble, 1868," "Robert Gould Shaw, Edmonia Lewis, Marble, 1865," "Edmonia Lewis: Provenance."

Bobbie Reno, Edmonia Lewis: A Sculptor of Determination and Courage. Troy Book Makers. 2017. A children's picture paperback for ages 6 to 9. ISBN: 1614684073. The story touches on the discrimination Edmonia suffered in a gentle sensitive way for children to understand without loosing it's impact on her life. The emphasis is on Edmonia's courageous determination to not let anyone or any prejudice prevent her from her dream.

Bridget Quinn, "Chapter 6, Edmonia Lewis," Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who made Art and Who made History (in that order). Chronicle Books.2017. "for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist." ISBN 9781452152363

Synthia Saint James, I am Edmonia Lewis and I am Wildfire. A Monologue.  paperback 2016.  ISBN 9781539035848  Edmonia Lewis's words and thoughts echoing through the decades make for a fine dramatic reading. Young Adult


RECENT and NEW: to 2015

Harry Henderson and Albert Henderson, The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis. A Narrative Biography.  Fall, 2012 (enhanced distribution Fall 2013). Only $9.99.

Recipient of the eLit GOLD award: "Illuminating Digital Publishing Excellence."

Based primarily on decades of research by Harry Henderson (co-author, with Romare Bearden, of A History of African American Artists from 1792 to the Present), this fresh look at Edmonia Lewis's life and art discusses how she helped shape today's world.  Revealing the mystery of her final days and more essential facts and sources than ever before collected and published, it offers more than 100,000 words, 50 illustrations (12 in color), 800 hyperlinked notes, a bibliography, and a catalog of 106 works with notes on more than twenty museums that collect her work. Many e-readers also have a "find" function that will locate names and other text, adjustable font size, a way to add notes, and an embedded dictionary that will define most words with a click or two. 


The cover is based on the earliest known portrait of the artist, ca. 1867.

Read Reviews: Kirkus Reviews  Midwest Book Review  Goodreads  Lifelong Dewey 

"The idea that I could produce a 35-dollar book and sell it for ten, with minimal investment and without a huge overhead, became irresistible."  Author interview with Jeri Walker: 

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Buy from Untreed Reads - read ePub or printable PDF on your PC | Mac | iOS | Android | Kindle

Also available from most other discerning ebook stores ...

Libraries may buy for their collections via EBSCO, YBP, Baker & Taylor, Overdrive,, etc.

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ISBNs 978-1-58863-450-4 (mobi); 978-1-58863-451-1 (pdf);  978-1-58863-452-8 (epub)   

OCLC numbers: 827730639; 846733433 

Attention retailers: The Indomitable Spirit of Edmonia Lewis is available via Untreed Reads..


BLOG -- Searching for Edmonia Lewis. Online 2012 + at

Romare Bearden and Harry Henderson. A History of African-American Artists From 1972 to the Present (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993): pages 54–77, 485-489.  Upon publication, this book was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a landmark work, both in the fields of art history and of African American studies,” and as “the first in-depth reference work on the history and development of art by black Americans” by the New York Times Book Review. 

Tritobia Hayes Benjamin, "Triumphant Determination: The Legacy of African American Women Artists," in Bearing Witness. Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists (New York: Rizzoli, 1996): pages 49-82.

Celeste-Marie Bernier, "Edmonia 'Wildfire' Lewis," in African American Visual Arts from Slavery to the Present. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009): pages 44-49.

Kirsten P. Buick, Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History's Black and Indian Subject (Duke University Press, Feb., 2010). Now available in a Kindle edition. University of New Mexico professor Kirsten Pai Buick is the winner of the David C. Driskell Prize for 2015.

 "The Ideal Works of Edmonia Lewis: Invoking and Inverting Autobiography." American Art 9 (Summer 1995): pages 5–19.

Timothy Anglin Burgard, "Edmonia Lewis and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Images and Identities," American Art Review 7 (Feb. Mar 1995): pages 114-117.

Susan Crowe, "Visual Narratives of the Portrait Busts of Edmonia Lewis."  Masters thesis. University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2010. 67 pp. Focuses on the story of Edmonia Lewis's bust of James Peck Thomas now at Allen Museum, Oberlin College, relates the provenance of the Bust of a Woman at St. Louis Art Museum, and reviews Edmonia Lewis's civil suit against JP Thomas and his wife.

Jack Flotte, "Edmonia Lewis and the Three Wise Men," ICA News 6, Summer/Fall 2004.

Susanna W. Gold, "The Death of Cleopatra / The Birth of Freedom: Edmonia Lewis at the New World's Fair," Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, Volume 35, Number 2 (Spring 2012) pp. 318-341. At Philadelphia's 1876 Centennial Exhibition, sculptor Edmonia Lewis's The Death of Cleopatra responded to the ambivalent Centennial culture that celebrated one-hundred years of a nation built on founding principles of unity and liberty, but that was haunted by centuries of African slavery, the recent Civil War, and the rapidly failing efforts of Reconstruction.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Sharing Traditions: Five Black Artists in Nineteenth-Century American (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1985): pages 85–98.

Melanie Anne Herzog, "Sculpting a Lineage: Elizabeth Catlett and African American Women Sculptors," Sculpture Review, Spring 2011.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault / David Driskell / George Gurney. "Testament To Bravery" PBS Newshour

Talia Lavin,  "The Life and Death of Edmonia Lewis, Spinster and Sculptor," The Toast, 2015 provides interesting information on Edmonia Lewis's grave and art historian Marilyn Richardson.

Stephen May,  "The Object at Hand." Smithsonian Magazine 27 (September 1996): pages 16, 18, 20.

Charmaine A. Nelson, The Color of Stone. Sculpting the Black Female Subject in Nineteenth-Century America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007). Sculptor Anne Whitney, friend of Edmonia Lewis, attempted a statue of a black woman as "Ethiopia Awakening," in the early 1860s. Her representation of race encountered a negative reception even among her abolitionist friends..

Michael W. Panhorst: The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery AL (2014)  spotlights an 1868 carving of Hiawatha's Marriage, one of Edmonia Lewis's most successful images. The web site includes a comparison by curator Michael W. Panhorst of the six known versions of the Marriage  and a commentary on Lewis's art.

Regina A. Perry, Free Within Ourselves: African-American Artists in the Collection of the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art, 1992): pages 134–38.

Nancy Elizabeth Proctor, "American Women Sculptors in Rome in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: Feminist and Psychoanalytic Readings of a Displaced Canon," PhD. thesis, University of Leeds, 1998. 

Marilyn Richardson, "Edmonia Lewis's The Death of Cleopatra." International Review of African American Art, 12, no. 2 (1995): pages 36–52.

"Hiawatha in Rome: Edmonia Lewis and Figures from Longfellow." Catalogue of Antiques and Fine Art (Spring 2002): pages 198-203. bullet

"Edmonia Lewis at McGrawville: The Early Education of a 19th Century Black Woman Artist." 19th Century Contexts 22,2 (Fall 2000): pages 239-256. bullet

"Marriage of Hiawatha," Sotheby's catalog.  2009   

"Taken From Life: Edward M. Bannister, Edmonia Lewis and the Memorialization of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment," in Hope & Glory: Essays on the Legacy of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press and the Massachusetts Historical Society,  2000): pages 94-115.  bullet

"Friends and Colleagues: Edmonia Lewis and Her Italian Circle," in Sculptors, Painters, and Italy: Italian Influence on Nineteenth-Century American Art (published by Il Prato, 2009)

Glenette Tilley Turner, Follow in Their Footsteps (1997): pages 23-38 includes a short biography and a brief play suited for elementary school use.

Judith Wilson, "Hagar’s Daughters: Social History, Cultural Heritage, and Afro-US Women’s Art," in Bearing Witness. Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists (New York: Rizzoli, 1996): pages 95-112.

Rinna Evelyn Wolfe, Edmonia Lewis: Wildfire in Marble (Parsippany NJ: Dillon Press div. Simon & Schuster, 1998). Winner, Carter G. Woodson Book Award, National Council for the Social Sciences.

Naurice Frank Woods, Jr., "An African Queen at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition 1876: Edmonia Lewis's The Death of Cleopatra,"  Meridians 9, no. 1 (2009), p. 62-82.












Updated 05/30/2020