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Anna McNeill Whistler
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Celebrity's Relative
    (September 27, 1804-January 31, 1881)
    Born in Wilmington, North Carolina
    Mother of artist James McNeill Whistler
    Made famous by the portrait her son painted - 'Arrangement in Grey & Black' (better known as 'Whistler's Mother')
    Portrait started in 1870 and completed in 1871 when she was 67 years old
    Died in Hastings, England at age 76
    As white Southerners with money, the Whistler family were slave owners.
    She fell in love at 15 with a gentleman that fancied her best friend, whom he married a year later.
    She was an ultra conservative Episcopalian who disapproved of her famous son's 'Bohemian lifestyle.'
    As a Confederate Army sympathizer, after the South lost the Civil War, she moved in with her son who was living in London.
    After her death, her son hocked the portrait, bought it back, then tried to sell it for $500 in New York without success.
    After her best friend died, the love of her life, four years a widower, agreed to marry her and adopt his three kids.
    Though the couple had five children of their own, only three lived to see adulthood.
    She journeyed to Russia with her engineer husband who was commissioned to build a railway system for Tsar Nicholas I.
    She adapted to London well and treated her son's patrons and friends to home cooked North Carolina-style biscuits, fruit preserves and buckwheat cakes.
    Fellow artist Edgar Degas got her son's famed portrait of her exhibited in the French Salon, where it won an award.
    It is now a priceless painting hanging in the Louvre Museum in France.
    In 1934 the U.S. Postal Department issued 'Whistler's Mother' as a commemorative Mother's Day stamp.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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