Dr. Robert Montgomery Bird, by Mary Mayer Bird, Philadelphia, circa 1840.
Close Window

Oil on canvas, head and shoulders, facing left.

Credit: Courtesy of Robert M. Bird and The Library Company of Philadelphia

Trained as a physician, Philadelphian Robert Montgomery Bird (1808-1854) gave up the practice of medicine to make his living as a writer after winning the $1,000 prize offered by American actor Edwin Forrest in 1828 for the best new play by an American author.  Bird went on to become a prominent playwright, novelist, essayist, and journalist before suffering a mental breakdown and early death at the age of 46.  His wife, Mary Bird, who studied with artist Thomas Sully, painted this portrait of Bird when he was at the height of his success.

Back to Top