I maintain a digital library of many of the newspaper articles, academic journals, some books, government records, and miscellaneous materials about the Bannisters listed in this bibliography. Access is provided upon request.
“Accensions and Gifts.” Bulletin, vol.1, no. 2 (1913): Rhode Island School of Design.
On page 4, in an article describing the bequest by Isaac Comstock Bates, describes Bannister as an example of the “older American landscape school.”
“Accensions and Gifts.” Bulletin, vol.10, (1922): Rhode Island School of Design.
On page 19, under Accensions and Gifts, lists a bequest by Austin H. King of the painting After the Shower by Edward Bannister to RISD.
“Accensions and Gifts.” Bulletin, vol.13, no.2 (1925): Rhode Island School of Design.
On page 21, records a gift by Walter E. Vincent of the painting Near Lake Quinsigamond t RISD.
“America’s Art Museums and the Broad Canvas of American Racial Thought.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, no. 16 (1997): 46–49.
Throughout American history white painters have presented a stereotypical view of black people. African-American artists, on the other hand, have offered a balanced view of Negroes as hard-working and proud people. The question arises as to which view of Black people is winning places in the galleries of America's great art museums? Article includes a short biography of Bannister among other artists.
“Art Collection Receives 19 th Century Drawings.” Tougaloo News (September 1982).
The Touglaloo College Art Gallery (Texas) received eight drawings by Edward Bannister from an anonymous donor.
Boothe, Berrisford. “Constructing Identity.” International Review of African American Art 26, no. 4 (October 2016): 17–30.
A short biographical essay on Bannister.
Clem, Lauren, "Providence Artist Edward Bannister Will Be Honored with a Statue This Fall," Rhode Island Monthly, April 25, 2023.
Article discussing the bronze statue of Bannister installed in the fall of 2023 and events surrounding the installation.
Connor, K. R. (1996). To Disembark: The Slave Narrative Tradition. African American Review, 30(1), 35–57.
Author claims that Bannister painted portraits of people, Black and white, who were significant participants in the struggle for emancipation.
Cook, Karen. “The Museum of African Art.” African Arts 6, no. 3 (1973): 21–63. https://doi.org/10.2307/3334690.
Describes the mission of the museum as an institution to inform the public about the role and influence of African art in America. Argues that the museum should be detached from any political movement. However, any institution that reflects on the heritage of Black Americans cannot ignore social currents so, a sister organization, the Frederick Douglas Institute, was formed that assembled shows for contemporary artists, like Bannister, whose art contained a social component as well.
Cureau, Harold G. “The Historic Roles of Black American Artists: A Profile of Struggle.” The Black Scholar 9, no. 3 (1977): 2–13.
Floyd, Minuette. “More than Just a Field Trip... Making Relevant Curricular Connections through Museum Experiences.” Art Education 55, no. 5 (2002): 39–45.
Argues that Black painters like Robert Scott Duncanson and Edward Bannister painted landscapes because there was no market for figurative painting with African-American subjects painted by African-American artists.
Giarusso, Edward. “Reclaiming a Lost World: Nineteenth-Century Providence Art.” Rhode Island Review, vol. 1, no. 2, summer 1983.
Hampton, Virginia. “19th Century African American Artists of the North and West” The International Review of African American Art 12, no. 1(1995).
Contains an Introduction, "To Be Free" by Juanita Holland; "Gifted and Black: African American Artist; Edward Mitchell Bannister" by Juanita Holland; "Grafton Tyler Brown: Selling the Promise of the West" by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins; "The Challenges of the 19th Century: Two Recent Landmark Publications in African American Visual Production" by Judith Wilson. Artwork by: Edward Mitchell Bannister, Grafton Tyler Brown, James P. Ball, A.C Russell, Frank Leslie, Robert S. Duncanson.
Harrison, Bonnie Claudia. “Diasporadas: Black Women and the Fine Art of Activism.” Meridians 2, no. 2 (2002): 163–84.
A Diasporada is a woman who transgresses national and political boundaries and is empowered by inserting Black and female voices into a transnational Black public sphere. Refers to sculptor Edmonia Lewis and her training under Bannister.
Holland, Juanita Marie, guest editor. “19th Century African American Artists of the North and West,” The International Review of African American Art 12, no. 5 (January 1995)
Three part publication that focuses on 19th century Black artists. Includes an essay by Holland titled, “To Be Free, Gifted, and Black: African Artist, Edward Mitchell Bannister.”
Joyette, Anthony. "Three Great Black Canadian Artists." Kola 26, no. 2 (2014): 63+. Gale Literature Resource Center (accessed June 28, 2022).
Discussion of Canadian artists Robert Scott Duncanson, Edward Bannister and James MacDonald Barnsley.
Kearin, Madeline Bourque. “Domesticating the Institution: Strategies of Alienation and Control in the Shelter for Colored Children and the Home for Aged Colored Women, Providence, RI.” The Historian 81 (2019): 627 - 653.
Examines the sensory experiences of confinement at nineteenth‐century state hospitals for the insane in New England. Refers to an obelisk in the North Burial Ground with an inscription that reads “SHELTER Home for Aged Colored Women.”
Lancaster, Jane (November 2001). "'I Would Have Made Out Very Poorly Had It Not Been for Her': The Life and Work of Christiana Bannister, Hair Doctress and Philanthropist". Rhode Island History Journal. 59: 103–122. Digital copy available at:
A detailed biography of the social, abolitionist, business, and family life of Christiana in Boston and in Providence.
Lark, Raymond. “Drawings and Paintings by an Afro-American Artist.” Leonardo 15, no. 1 (1982): 7–12.
The author, an Afro-American, briefly describes the historical and the personal background to his work as a draftsman and painter. His basic intentions as a visual artist are presented together with a discussion of some of his drawings and paintings, which are realistic in style. He describes Bannister as one of the earliest Black portrait painters.
Lane, Nancy. “Providence Salutes African American Artists in Three Recent Shows.” International Review of African American Art 15, no. 2 (April 1998): 24.
Focuses on the 1998 exhibitions held in Providence, Rhode Island `One Voice, Many Visions,' `Works from the Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection' and Edward M. Bannister,' which displayed works of art by African American artists. Institutions at which these exhibitions were held; What the institutions plan to continue to do.
Loughery, John. “Canonizing.” The Hudson Review 46, no. 2 (1993): 357–64.
The debate over multicultural values in American education and the arts has become today one of the most useful and intellectual controversies this society has had to face and, at the same time, a spectacle that gets more ludicrous every year.
“I don't believe the painters Henry Ossawa Tanner or Edward Mitchell Bannister or the sculptor Edmonia Lewis are any better than other academic artists of their day and I don't care to linger over their works simply because these men and women are black and were badly treated in the nineteenth century. That isn't the issue. Forget the red herrings…”
Loughery, John. “Uncharted Paths.” The Hudson Review 47, no. 3 (1994): 453–58.
Argues that capability and mastery of craft are a prerequisite to collecting art rather than multicultural, ethnic, or racial criteria. “Absolutely no one could tell from looking at the paintings of Robert Edmund Duncanson or Edward Mitchell Bannister that these were the work of black men, though an ideological point could be drawn from that fact as well, I suppose. Namely, what African-American images could Duncanson or Bannister have treated on canvas in the 1850s and 1860s if he wanted to sell his pictures? That they belong in such a context, two talented men, is clear; capability, mastery of craft, has got to be the starting point for any serious collector.”
Naurice Frank Woods, Jr. “Review of Kindred Spirits of the Imagination: Henry Ossawa Tanner and Clementine Hunter,” The Journal of African American History 98, no. 3 (2013): 455–65.
“Despite significant gains in dispelling racialized myths of black artistic inventiveness by pioneering African American artists such as Edward Bannister, most of their contributions to American and international art have historically been neglected in assessing the nation’s cultural legacy. In its place has long stood a model of absolute white hegemony in the creation of imaginative works of art worthy of being considered important to the development of American art. Over the years there have been well-documented histories of African American art and artists that sought to fill this gap in the story of American art.”
Neperud, Ronald W., and Harvey C. Jenkins. “Ethnic Aesthetics: Blacks’ and Nonblacks’ Aesthetic Perception of Paintings by Blacks.” Studies in Art Education 23, no. 2 (1982): 14–21.
In this study of Blacks' and Nonblacks' perceptions of Black art, non-art students, 92 Blacks and 78 Nonblacks, from four southern colleges responded on 20 bipolar seven-point adjective scales to 9 slides, three each of Mainstream, Blackstream, and Activist paintings by Blacks, representing canons of Black Aesthetics. Analysis of the data indicated that Blacks rate Blackstream and Activist images more highly than Non Blacks, but the difference is of degree and not of kind. A Black Aesthetic is supported in that Blacks respond to imagery with direct reference to the Black experience; however, similar structural patterns underlie Blacks' and Nonblacks' aesthetic perception of Black Art. Approaching Storm by Bannister was used in the study because it had no Black content.
Pierre-Noel, Lois Jones. “American Negro Art in Progress.” Negro History Bulletin 30, no. 6 (1967): 6–9.
A review of Contemporary Art in America reveals that the Black artist has gained significant recognition through the realization of a greater democracy in American Art. Just as Black’s are demanding their rightful place in the mainstreams of American life, Black artists have joined the drive to receive unrestricted acceptance into the nation's art circles with an unprecedented contribution of meritorious creative works. The Black artist has "come of age" and is making a vital contribution to contemporary art through competent works which express originality as well as a wide diversity of style from realism to bold abstractionism. The author describes Bannister as a member of the first group of Black artists to be recognized as such.
“Home for Aged Colored Women.” Providence Magazine, vol. 28, no. 1 (September, 1916): 586.
Page 586 offers a detailed description of Christiana’s role in the establishment of the Home for Aged Colored Women.
Ralph, Elsie Reasoner. “ The Rhode Island School of Design.” Providence Magazine. February, 1914, 20.
Randall, Laura. “Making a Living: African Americans in 19th-Century New England.” Humanities 16, no. 1 (January 1995): 38.
Discusses the traveling exhibit `Making a Living: The Work Experience of African Americans in New England,' by the New England Foundation for the Humanities, to be presented from January 1995 through June 1996. Bookbinder Amos Fortune; Elleanor Eldridge and her paperhanging business; Painter Edward Mitchell Bannister; Black artisans in Boston; African Americans in the maritime trade; Slavery in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
“Reaching beyond Black Subjects.” American Visions 8, no. 5 (October 1993): 12.
American Visions. Oct/Nov93, Vol. 8 Issue 5, p12. 1/3p. 1 Color Photograph. Abstract: Reports on `The Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art,' a multimedia traveling exhibition. Contributions of landscape African-American artists from the 19th century; Edward M. Bannister; Robert S. Duncanson; Charles Ethan Porter; Henry O. Tanner; Romare Bearden; Eldzier Cortor; Exhibition traveling through March 1996 to Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia.
Reynolds, Bill. “Why is this White Man Cornering the Market on Black Art?” Providence Sunday Journal, Rhode Islander (January 22, 1978), Cover, 6-12.
Richardson, Terri. “Baptism of Light,” International Review of African American Art., vol. 18, no. 2 (2002): 50.
Reviews the art exhibit 'Edward Bannister 1828–1901: A Centennial Retrospective,' at Kenkeleba House in New York City.
Rowell, Charles Henry. “Two Galleries, Engaging Art, Great Talents, and Challenging Minds: The Howard University Gallery of Art, the Little Paris Group, and the Barnett-Aden Gallery.” Callaloo 39, no. 5 (2016): 1163–67.
In December of 2008, Janet Gail Abbott submitted a 219-page text entitled The Barnett Aden Gallery: A Home for Diversity in a Segregated City as her final requirement for the PhD degree at Pennsylvania State University. While recreating major moments in the founding and services of the first privately-owned gallery by African Americans, Abbott also discussed the importance of the gallery for the lives and careers of both black and white artists in and beyond its immediate racially segregated location, Washington, DC, the nation's capital.
“The Providence Art Institute.” The Collector 3, no. 2 (1891): 24–24.
Announces that, in the January Session of the Rhode Island Assembly, an association for the promotion of the fine arts, and the establishment of a free public art museum, fostering and cultivating the taste for such arts in the popular mind, and tending indirectly to the improvement of the useful arts in the community was created.The first public result of the movement was a show with a collection of 190 pictures including works from Bannister.
Robinson, Shantay. "Black Art: Ghettoizing Art or Creating Space?" Black Art in America. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020.
“When the first black artists to practice professionally in the United States began creating artworks, their patrons were largely white abolitionists. Edward Mitchell Bannister and Robert S. Duncanson catered to their audience by painting commissioned portraits and landscapes. To describe them as black artists would be describing their race more than it would be describing their artwork. They didn’t create work that reflected the black experience.”
Skerrett, Joseph T. “Edward M. Bannister, Afro-American Painter (1828-1901).” Negro History Bulletin 41, no. 3 (1978): 829–829.
Article offers a short biography of Bannister’s life. Notes that he served at sea as a cook before moving to Boston. Has some notes and references.
Troyen, Carol. “The Boston Tradition: Painters and Patrons in Boston 1720-1920,” The Boston Tradition, American Paintings From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: The Museum of Fine Arts and the American Federation of Arts, 1980, pp. 5-42.
Vendryes, Margaret Rose. “Race Identity/Identifying Race: Robert S. Duncanson and Nineteenth-Century American Painting.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 27, no. 1 (2001): 82–104.
Author argues that because of his lighter color, Bannister was afforded privileges that his darker skinned artists could not access, including professional opportunities. For this reason Bannister is generally not included in the cannon of Black art during the 1960s.
Wagner, Anne Prentice. "Newspaper Boy." Smithsonian American Art Museum (January 2012). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 13, 2021.
A study of the painting by that title including a discussion of the life of newspaper boys in Boston during the period. Attempts to answer the questions: Where does this painting fit into Bannister’s life and career? Why did he paint this subject? What was the life of a newsboy like in the 1860s and 1870s and how did this change later?
Walk-Morris, Tatiana. “Madame Christiana Carteaux Bannister is the Black Beauty Hero You Haven’t Heard of.” Bustle, (2018, February 9).
Whitaker, George W. “Reminiscences of Providence Artists.” Providence Magazine; the Board of Trade Journal (February 1914 and March 1914)
A list of photographers and bibliography, plus full-page black and white illustrations by some of the listed photographers, a name index, a geographical index, and an index to photographic collections. Reference is made to Edward Bannister.