Troika Gallery Displays Historic Painting With Lincoln’s Secret Female Cabinet Member

The boys are back at Troika Gallery. But this time they are joined by Anna Ella Carroll, their secret female counterpart who for more than a century following her death was ignored, oppressed, and erased—literally and figuratively—from history.

Anna Ella Carroll was an intriguing and atypical 19th century woman who emerged from the male-dominated realm of war, politics, and diplomacy. As a key military strategist, Presidential advisor, and “unofficial” member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, Carroll was probably the most powerful woman in America during the Civil War. Yet, her accomplishments are virtually unknown. When Carroll died in 1894, deprived of honor, title, pension, and acknowledgement, her life story was already considered a model for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. A modern biographer described Carroll as “hands down, the most important political woman of the 19th century.”

Laura Era, a well-known portrait artist and co-owner of Troika Gallery, was commissioned by a local group that wanted to bring Anna’s story back to the forefront with a popular image. Era painstakingly painted a stylized replica of Francis Bicknell Carpenter’s famous 1864 painting, “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln.” Carpenter’s immense painting hangs over the west staircase in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. Along with Lincoln and his cabinet members, it prominently depicts an empty chair draped with a red shawl, along with maps and notes similar to those Carroll carried. Many historians believe it was Carpenter’s way of acknowledging Carroll as the unrecognized member of the Cabinet. Era’s painting, titled “Maryland’s Version of The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation,” includes the addition of Anna Ella Carroll sitting in the previously empty chair and wearing the red shawl.

Era’s painting, which was unveiled in 2010, will soon begin a traveling tour. For a short time before the tour, it will be displayed at Troika Gallery. Don’t miss the chance to get a local viewing of this historic painting. Also on exhibit will be stunning fine art by more than 30 fine artists represented exclusively in the area by Troika Gallery.

Troika Gallery will host a reception on February 3 from 5-9pm during downtown Easton’s First Friday Gallery Walk. The reception includes light refreshments.

Troika Gallery is located at 9 S. Harrison Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm, and by appointment on Sunday. Artist portfolios and gallery information are available online at For more information, email or phone at 410.770.9190.