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Samuel Morse

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (April 27, 1791 – April 2, 1872) was an American painter and inventor. After having established his reputation as a portrait painter, in his middle age Morse contributed to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs. He was a co-developer of the Morse code and helped to develop the commercial use of telegraphy.

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Samuel Morse was one of many Americans who went to Paris in in the mid-early part of the 1800's to enrich their experience in arts, as there really were no significant art schools or museums or ancient carved buildings in America. Morse traveled with the intention of becoming a historical painter. He became absorbed in the Louvre and created a grand masterpiece (titled "The Gallery of the Louvre"), copying 38 of the masterpieces contained in the museum. He placed himself in the center of the painting and included his close friend James Fennimore Cooper and family amongst the other figures. Unfortunately he became somewhat discouraged with his reception and success as a painter and threw himself into his idea of a telegraph...read more about Morse and the Americans in Paris in David McCullough's fascinating book "The Greater Journey".

Contributed by Lori Jones

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