by Michael McGuigan

Click here to learn about the Bannister Community Art Project


This annotated bibliography is the result of a collaboration between myself, the Bannister Community Art Project, and Stages of Freedom. What started out as a simple partnership to prepare some teacher resources about the Bannisters and the time period they lived in, ended with, not only teacher resources, but this bibliography. In preparation for assembling some teacher resources, I was curious to see what already existed regarding the Bannisters. My assumption was that there was very little. I was wrong. 

While there is not an abundance of primary source material about Edward or Christiana’s early lives, there is a significant amount of material that has been produced about them as artists, entrepreneurs, abolitionists, and activists.

​I did not include every item written by or about the Bannisters. In fact, one clear area not included in this bibliography is correspondence from the Bannisters or from folks corresponding with or about the Bannisters. The simple reason for this omission is because I could find none. Newspaper articles are another area where I exercised editorial discretion. For example, I did not include every article that mentions the Bannisters in the Providence Journal. There are many announcements of exhibitions and events that say the same thing and offer no new information. I chose not to include the repeats. Unless otherwise noted, all images are used under Creative Commons licensing or with permission from the Providence Art Club.

I am deeply grateful for the contributions of Nancy Whipple Grinnell, Nancy Gaucher Thomas, and Elizabeth Zimmerman from the Providence Art Club; Jennifer Davis-Allison; Victoria Gao, Director of the Bannister Gallery and Exhibitions at Rhode Island College; Marisa Bourgoin, Head of Reference Services, Archives of American Art | Smithsonian Institution; Britni Gorman, Deputy Archivist, City of Providence; Barnaby Evans, Creator and Artistic Director of Waterfire; Rhode Island historian Tim Cranston; and activist, historian and Cristiana Bannister expert Ray Rickman, art collector Nick Bruno and Edward Shein, owner of American Art Search in Seekonk, Mass.


Finally, very little published information about the Bannisters should be considered definitive. There are contradictions, inconsistencies, and  myths galore in the literature about the Bannisters. I do maintain a digital library of newspaper articles, academic journals, some books, government records, and miscellaneous materials about the Bannisters. Access to this digital library is provided upon request.