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Historical Biography

Attorney General: Edmund Jennings Randolph

Randolph, Edmund Jennings
1st Attorney General, -
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Edmund Jennings Randolph was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, on August 10, 1753. He attended the College of William and Mary and studied law in his father's office. He was a supporter of the Revolution and served as General George Washington's aide-de-camp in 1775. Randolph was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a member of the Constitutional Convention. He was elected attorney general of Virginia in 1776, served until 1782 and served as Governor of Virginia from 1786-1788.

On September 26, 1789, Randolph was appointed the first Attorney General of the United States by President Washington. In 1794 he was appointed Secretary of State. He served in this position until 1795.

Randolph died on September 12, 1813, in Clarke County, Virginia.

About the Artist: John Mix Stanley (1814-1872)

Stanley was a portrait and landscape painter who specialized in scenes of Indian life in the West. Born in New York, he travelled extensively throughout the West and settled in Detroit in 1834 where he took up portrait painting. After 1850 he deposited his "Indian Gallery" at the Smithsonian Institution in hopes the Federal Government would purchase it. His hopes were not realized, but he remained in Washington, D.C, for the next decade. Tragically, his collection was almost totally destroyed by fire while being exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1865.

In 1856 he painted Attorney General Randolph's portrait from a family portrait.

Updated October 24, 2022