spacer Orestes Augustus Brownson Orestes Augustus Brownson
Religious philosopher

A Vermont Calvinist, Orestes Brownson spent his seventy-three years on a religious pilgrimage that included Presbyterianism, Universalism, his own Society for Christian Union and Progress, and finally, Roman Catholicism. He wrote prodigiously on such topics as labor and social reform, transcendentalism, states' rights, nativism, and emancipation; and he demonstrated his versatility in the writing of mystical poetry. After converting to the Roman Catholic Church in 1844, he devoted his journal, Brownson's Quarterly Review, to the spread of Catholic doctrine. He recounted his inner experiences in The Convert; or, Leaves from My Experience (1857). This image by G. P. A. Healy seems to reflect the conversations about Catholicism that he and Brownson had during the sittings in Chicago in the winter of 1863, after which Healy wrote: "Your words linger in my mind like a strain of music, & your acquaintance has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life."

George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894)
Oil on canvas, 1863
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Enlarged image

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