Elizabeth Buffum Chace Portrait Donated To Preservation Society

The Preservation Society of Fall River is pleased to announce the donation of a portrait of famed abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Elizabeth Buffum Chace by local artist Sheila Leshinsky Oliveira.

The painting is one in a series of seven historic portraits Oliveira created with support from a grant by the Fall River Cultural Council and previously displayed in an exhibit titled “Famed & Framed” at Fall River Heritage State Park.

“I was honored to learn and visually interpret the life work and noble humanity of Elizabeth Buffum Chace, which reflected her belief that all persons are created equal,” Leshinsky Oliveira said.

After her family moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, Elizabeth married textile manufacturer Samuel Buffington Chace in 1828 and her anti-slavery beliefs radicalized. Chace joined the anti-slavery movement of William Lloyd Garrison and she and her sisters founded the Fall River Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. The Chace family home would later serve as a station on the Underground Railroad.

The Elizabeth Buffum Chace portrait will be added to the permanent collection of the Preservation Society’s future Underground Railroad Museum at the c. 1833 Dr. Isaac Fiske House, an Underground Railroad Site on Pine Street in Fall River.

“The oil painting portrait of abolitionist Sarah Buffum Chase by artist Sheila Leshinsky Oliveira is the Preservation Society’s first exhibit item representative of Fall River’s Underground Railroad activity and is extremely appreciated,” said Preservation Society President James Soule.

“Thanks to the Fall River Preservation Society for installing this portrait at the Fiske House as a reminder of the role Fall River played in the Underground Railroad and the extraordinary work of one woman who supported equal rights and freedoms,” said Leshinsky Oliveira. “It is my hope visitors to Fall River’s Fiske House and other historic sites will learn and appreciate the rich history of my hometown.”

The Preservation Society has begun preliminary work on the Fiske House Underground Railroad Museum and hopes to open its doors to the public in 2024-2025.

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