Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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SIMITIERE, Pierre Eugene du, artist, born in Geneva, Switzerland; died in Philadelphia in October. 1784. He went to the West Indies about 1750, and, after spending nearly fifteen years there, to New York, and in 1766 to Philadelphia. Here he became well known as a collector of curiosities, and in 1768 was elected a member of the American philosophical society. His collection was so celebrated that in 1782 he opened it to the public under the name of the American museum. He was an artist of some ability, and painted numerous portraits, including one of Washington. His heads of thirteen notables--Washington, Baron Steuben, Silas Deane, Joseph Reed, Gouverneur Morris, General Horatio Gates. John Jay, William H. Drayton, Henry Laurens, Charles Thomson, Samuel Huntingdon, John Dickinson, and Benedict Arnold--were engraved by Benjamin Reading and published in a quarto volume (London, 1783). He painted also miniatures in water-color, and made some designs for publications. Soon after the Declaration of Independence he was employed by a committee of congress to furnish designs for a seal for the new republic. Subsequently he suggested another design, but neither was accepted. His valuable collection of manuscripts and broadsides, forming material for a history of the Revolution and comprising several volumes, is in the Philadelphia library. Princeton conferred upon him in 1781 the honorary degree of M.A.
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