Eli Whitney

1765 (Westborough, Mass.) – 1825 (?New Haven, Conn.)

Silliman was a friend of Whitney’s for 25 years, starting at Yale; in a memoir he wrote eloquently of Whitney’s ingenuity. Morse painted his distant cousin Whitney’s portrait in 1821, when both were neighbours near Yale. While Whitney exchanged letters with Thomas Jefferson about a patent, there is more myth-making than clear evidence to suggest that the relationship passed beyond the functional and formal.