William Garl Browne
William Gaston Simmons, 1881
Oil on canvas
29 1/2” x 24 1/2”
Portrait Collection, POR2007.1.84


William Gaston Simmons (1830-1899), alumnus of Wake Forest College, class of 1852, later became Professor of Natural Science and Chemistry and served as Bursar and Treasurer of Wake Forest College. Although he received his license to practice law in 1855, he left the profession to teach at his alma mater. In 1863, while the College was closed due to the Civil War, he opened a seminary for girls in the College Building. He was married to Mary E. Foote of Warren County. Simmons was awarded an honorary degree by the College in 1884.

William Garl Browne Jr. (1823–1894) was born in Liverpool, England in 1823 to a landscape painter who moved to the United States with his family around 1840. The younger Browne settled in Richmond, Virginia in 1846 to begin his career as a portrait painter. During the Mexican-American War in 1847, Browne traveled to Mexico to paint portraits of Zachary Taylor and other war heroes. Before and after the Civil War, he traveled extensively in the southern United States painting portraits of distinguished members of society.

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