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biography of Henry DAWKINS (?-c.1786)

Birth place: England

Addresses: Active in NYC, 1754-57; Philadelphia, 1757 to c. 1772; NYC, from c. 1772-80

Profession: Copper engraver

Work: One of his engravings of Benjamin Lay," after William Williams, is at Haverford (PA) College Library"

Comments: Came to America c. 1753. He settled in Philadelphia after a few years in NYC, where he had done some bookplate engraving. At first he worked as assistant to James Turner (see entry), engraver, but in 1758 went into business on his own. His engravings consist mostly of bookplates, certificates, and trade cards. Dawkins also did caricatures and some book illustrations. In May 1776 he was arrested in NYC on suspicion of counterfeiting, but was apparently released after some time in prison, because in 1780 he was paid by the Continental Congress for engraving bills of credit for the government. Nothing further is known of his later career, although Dawkins may have died in 1786, as his plates were advertised for sale in May of that year.

Sources: G&W; DAB; Decatur, The Conflicting History of Henry Dawkins"; Reid, "Some Early Masonic Engravers in America," 100-103; Stauffer; Stokes, Hist. Prints; Gottesman, I, 8-9; American Collector (Feb. 1945), 6, repro. More recently, see Saunders and Miles, 227."

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