Stephen Fuller Austin

Stephen Fuller Austin initially had little interest in his father Moses Austin's venture to colonize Texas, but after the elder's death it became Stephen's all-consuming life’s work. This portrait handed down through family members is purported to have been made from a life sitting. Austin was serving as secretary of state to the new Republic of Texas when he died at the age of 43 in December 1836. A portrait of Austin familiar to some during the Republic of Texas was the one engraved on the $50 currency note.

Republic of Texas $50 'red back' currency note and a reversed detail of the engraving of Stephen F. Austin seen on the note.

[1] This series of paper money called "red backs" was first issued in 1839 and were actually interest bearing promissory notes. The notes derived their nickname from the logo on the back of the currency printed in red ink. Prints & Photographs 1989/084-16. [2] For comparison with the painted portrait the printed engraving detail is shown enlarged and reversed from left-to-right. Prints & Photographs 1989/084-16 (detail enlargement, image reversed left-to-right).

Page last modified: February 18, 2015