PERKINS, Charles Elliott (Replica)

Bust-length profile, facing to the right. Oil on canvas, 26.1/2” x 31.1/2”.

State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Division, Capitol Complex, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Acquisitions No. 36.

Des Moines Leader, January 17, 1909.

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Perkins was born in Cincinnati on November 24, 1840, and removed to Burlington, Iowa in 1859. He was cashier, assistant treasurer and superintendent of the Burlington & Northern Railway Company from 1859 – 1881, and President of the C.B. & Q. Railway Company 1881 – 1901 (Director 1901 – 1907). He died in Westwood, Massachusetts on November 8, 1907.

Painted in 1908. The artist sent this picture from New York to Iowa in December 1908. This is confirmed by the Des Moines Leader for January 17, 1909, which announced the picture was sent by Mrs. Perkins. Mrs. Edith Perkins wrote to Muller-Ury on November 15 and December 13, 1908 (artist’s papers) expressing how much she likes the picture as does a Mr. Elliott, but she declines the artist’s offer to paint a picture of her husband for herself but says her daughter might like a sketch. It was said to be a replica of the portrait painted by Muller-Ury for James J. Hill for the Burlington offices in New York (Hill Papers).

Charles E. Perkins (1881-1943), the sitter’s son, [who later lived in Santa Barbara, California], wrote to Muller-Ury on December 23, 1908 from Burlington, Iowa (artist’s papers) as follows:

‘My dear Mr. Ury,

I have your letter of December 21st and enclose you herewith draft to your order for $1,566, to cover the portrait sent to the Historical Department of Iowa, as well as for the frame and expressage…/…I am glad to hear that the portrait is such a success.

            Yours truly, Charles E. Perkins.’

On January 22, 1909, he wrote again to the artist (same source) telling the artist the picture had arrived in Des Moines and said, ‘… I will say that the Historical Department of Iowa are very pleased with the picture, and I think you will be glad to hear it.’