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This portrait depicts James Sullivan (1744-1808) in 1807, the first year of his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. It was painted by the renowned artist Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828).
James Sullivan was born in Berwick, Maine, in 1744. He studied law, then practiced law in Maine and Massachusetts. He served as a justice on the Massachusetts Superior Court from 1776 to 1782, was a member of the Continental Congress, attorney-general of Massachusetts, and governor of Massachusetts from 1807-1808. He was the first president of the Massachusetts Historical Society from 1791 to 1806. He died in 1808.