(March 25, 1818 – December 15, 1902) was an American photographer, actor, playwright, painter, and writer active in New York City
. Born in Philadelphia
to an engraver father, Harrison came to New York with his family at age six. He made his theatrical debut in 1838 as the title character in Shakespeare's Othello
opposite Lester Wallack
Harrison began his photography career in the gallery of John Plumbe
around 1844, and worked for Martin M. Lawrence
from 1847 to 1851. He moved to Brooklyn in 1851, opened his own gallery in Brooklyn in 1852, and remained in photography until the early 1860s. His notable photographs include a daguerreotype
of Walt Whitman
that was engraved in the title page of Leaves of Grass
and California News
, a daguerreotype noted for its staged narrative rather than being a simple portrait.
His written works include a dramatization of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
and biographies of actors John Howard Payne
and Edwin Forrest
He supported free art schools in connection with the Brooklyn Academy of Design
, of which he was a founder, and was also a portrait and landscape painter.
He died in Brooklyn
at age 84, and his children include daughters Viola and Beatrice and son George Washington Harrison.