This lithograph is part of a series produced in 1845 by E. B. and E. C. Kellogg entitled Portrait Gallery of Distinguished American Citizens. The folio consisted of 26 images of notable statesmen (20 of which are in the Senate collection). The Kellogg brothers were considered rivals of Currier and Ives, producing popular, low-priced prints for direct sale to the public. The silhouette accurately depicts the 430-pound, rotund figure of Senator Dixon Hall Lewis (1802-1848) of Alabama. A strong states? rights proponent, Lewis opposed the national bank and protective tariffs and allied with John Calhoun on nullification. His excessive weight required special accommodation for his safety and comfort. He sat in a custom built chair in the Senate Chamber and, during hot summer months, Senate pages fanned Lewis for hours to keep him cool. Senate Assistant Doorkeeper Isaac Bassett wrote: "Mr. Lewis was the terror of hackmen....On one occasion in town getting into a hack he broke through its floor and fell into the ground beneath it. The accident placed him in considerable peril. Had the horses been wild or scared, he might have been killed or greatly infirmed."
1. Papers of Isaac Bassett, Office of the Curator, U.S. Senate, 20 C 73-74.