Luke Edward Wright

LUKE EDWARD WRIGHT was born in Giles County, Tennessee, on 29 August 1846; moved with his family to Memphis in 1850; attended the public schools; enlisted at fifteen in the Confederate Army and served with Company G, 154th Senior Tennessee Regiment; was promoted to second lieutenant and cited for bravery under fire in the battle of Murfreesboro, 1863; entered the University of Mississippi, 1867–1868, but did not graduate; married Katherine Semmes, 1868; read law in his father’s office, was admitted to the bar, and entered into practice in Memphis; served as attorney general of Tennessee for eight years; was instrumental in establishing a relief committee during an epidemic of yellow fever in 1878; was a member of the second Philippine Commission, 1900; was appointed vice-governor of the Philippines, 1901; was appointed governor general of the Philippines, 1904; served as United States ambassador to Japan, 1906–1907; served as Secretary of War, 1 July 1908–11 March 1909; stressed actions to eliminate unfit officers and sought to take advantage of aviation technology; returned to private life; died in Memphis, Tennessee, on 17 November 1922.

The Artist

Gerard Barry (born 1864) was born in County Cork, Ireland. In 1885 he entered the Académie Julien in Paris, France, where he studied under Jules Lefebvre, Gustave Boulanger, and Carolus Duran. He exhibited in the Paris salons in 1885 and 1886 and at the Royal Academy in London in 1887. In the following year he came to the United States to live permanently except for an eighteen-month visit abroad to study under Carmon. Secretary Wright was still in Washington when Barry painted him from life in 1909. Barry’s portrait of House Speaker John White hangs in the U.S. Capitol.


Portrait, Luke Edward Wright

T. Roosevelt Administration
By Gerard Barry Oil on canvas, 31˝" x 26˝", 1909

page created 6 March 2001

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