American - Victor Chapman, about 1890


Victor Chapman, about 1890

Albumen print , 30.5 x 25.2 cm (12 x 9 15/16 in.)


This photograph memorializes Victor Chapman, the first American pilot to die in World War I and son to one of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s closest friends. After his death, the bereaved Chapmans presented Gardner with a small panel painting, Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, in Victor’s memory. She placed it on an easel in the Early Italian Room with a memorial wreath, but saved this photograph of Victor as an infant—close to the age of her own son when he died—for her personal archive.