PRESENTING an EXTREMELY RARE and ORIGINAL piece of AMERICAN HISTORY, namely, an ORIGINAL engraving of a very rare Portrait of an early/young Jefferson Davis, by Enoch Wood Perry, together with accompanying letter from Jefferson Davis’ Grandson, Jefferson Hayes Davis dated 2nd April 1935. Signed by him in ink.

We estimate that the portrait must be circa 1845-55, considering the youthful look of Davis and probably was sketched by Perry around the time Davis was first elected to the House of Representatives or his early Senate days.


The engraving has a notation on the rear of it that reads:

This letter from Jefferson Hayes Davis is on ‘The First National Bank of Colorado Springs CO’, headed Notepaper, dated April 2, 1935 and is addressed to Mrs. A.G. Smith of Box 543, Belton, Texas, who was apparently doing a thesis on the ‘Early Life of Jefferson Davis’, and had written to Jefferson Hayes Davis on March 20th 1935 requesting assistance with her thesis and specifically looking for a picture of a young Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson Hayes Davis was obviously keen to help, but had no pictures at hand (he had misplaced them) and must have forwarded this picture to Mrs. Smith, when his niece returned (as referred to in his letter).

Check out the Exceptionally RARE Original Photo, of the unveiling of the Jefferson Davis Statue, in the Capitol Building in Washington DC in 1931, also in our Inventory and part of the same Collection:


Jefferson Davis, born June 3, 1808, in Christian
(now Todd) County, Kentucky, was raised on
his family’s small plantation near Woodville,
Mississippi. The rough the generosity of his
older brother Joseph, he studied at St. Thomas
College, Washington County, Kentucky, and at
Transylvania University before graduating from
the United States Military Academy in 1828.

He served in the Army until 1835, when he became a

He was elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives in 1845 but resigned the following
year to command the “Mississippi Rifles” in the
Mexican War.

From 1847 to 1851 he served as a
U.S. senator.

As secretary of war for President
Franklin Pierce (1853–1857) he strengthened
the Army and coast defenses, directed railroad
surveys, and supervised the enlarging of the U.S.
Capitol and the construction of a water viaduct
in Washington, D.C. He re-entered the Senate in
1857 and was a recognized as a spokesman for the

When Mississippi seceded, Davis resigned
and accepted command of Mississippi’s military
forces. Hoping to be appointed commander of all
southern armies, he found himself instead elected
president of the Confederate States.

When the Confederacy surrendered, Davis was captured
and imprisoned in Fort Monroe for two years,
indicted for treason (but never brought to trial),
and finally released on bond in 1867.

After travel abroad and a few unsuccessful
business ventures, he made his home at “Beauvior,”
near Biloxi, Mississippi, and wrote Rise and Fall
of the Confederated States. Jefferson Davis died in
New Orleans on December 6, 1889.


Enoch Wood Perry Jr. (July 31, 1831 – December 14, 1915) was a painter from the United States.

Perry was born in Boston on July 31, 1831. His father was Enoch Wood Perry, and mother was Hannah Knapp Dole. His maternal grandparents were Samuel Dole and Katherine Wigglesworth. The family moved to New Orleans with his family as a teenager in 1848 and attended its public schools. After working several years as a clerk in a commission house, Perry began formal art education. In 1852 he went to Europe for four years and studied with Emanuel Leutze at the Düsseldorf AcademyThomas Couture in Paris, and in Rome. Perry served as the U.S. Consul to Venice between 1856 and 1858. Upon returning to America, he opened a studio in Philadelphia.

On the eve of the American Civil War, Perry moved back to New Orleans and opened a studio in 1860. He painted a portrait of Senator John Slidell and the signing the Ordinance of Secession of Louisiana by early 1861. Later in 1861 Perry completed a portrait of Jefferson Davis posed before a map of the Confederate States of America, which was raffled off at a fair with the proceeds benefiting the southern war effort.

He traveled to northern California, where he spent several years sketching and painting with Albert Bierstadt, taking special interest in Yosemite Valley. While there he painted a portrait of future governor Washington Bartlett. Around 1864, Perry sailed to Honolulu, with the idea of painting the wonders of nature there, and was well received. His cousin once removed Daniel Dole was a missionary teacher in Hawaii. Perry traveled to most of the islands, and painted landscapes and portraits, including posthumous images of King Kamehameha IV and his young son Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Leiopapa a Kamehameha, as well as Hawaiian landscapes.

In 1865 Perry painted a portrait of Brigham Young which hangs in the Salt Lake City Council chambers. It was reported that a spitoon and ring with freemasonry symbols were removed from the painting. Perry then lived in New York City where he married Fannie Field on February 4, 1899. Perry died at his home in New York City on December 14, 1915.

The Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are among the public collections holding works by Perry.



Very Rare Jefferson Davis Portrait Engraving as a Young Man by EW Perry

Provenance: From the Estate of Eliza Calvert Hall-Obenchain Collection.

Dimensions: 14.25 in x  12.25 in (in frame)

Condition: In very good ORIGINAL CONDITION and in ORIGINAL frame, under glass, with original matting and with hand-written notation on the rear of the engraving. Some minor fading and foxing through age, but not significant.


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