Mrs. Lipman, Editor of Art in America, has spent the past thirty years rediscovering Rufus Porter. This book serves as a lengthy biographical sketch of the man, a sure-fire, plain- Maine Connecticut Yankee. In his 1792-1884 lifespan Porter was a free-wheeling, free-spirited itinerant. At intervals he was also a shoemaker, drummer, house and sign painter, schoolteacher, portraitist, inventor (according to this ""actually the first man in the world to plan and try out the possibility of a power-driven airship""), dancing teacher, muralist. He built grist mills, planned and copyrighted a music book, and founded the Scientific American. But the real aim of this book is to establish him as a ranking Early American Artist and the photographs--22 plates in full color: 102 in black and white should make this a perfect addition to that Early American coffeetable.