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Cole Porter, born in 1891, attended Yale and wrote football fight songs, including “Bull Dog,” that are still popular today. In the late 1920s, he became a prominent songwriter in New York, having penned some of the greatest songs of stage and screen. “Night and Day,” “You’re the Top,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Love for Sale” are a few of his more famous compositions. In the 1930s he wrote the scores to a number of successful Broadway productions including “Anything Goes,” “The Gay Divorce,” “Jubilee,” and “Born to Dance.” The longevity and popularity of Cole Porter's music is a testament to this Hoosier’s talent. More than 76 years after originally premiering, a revival of Anything Goes will open on Broadway April 7, 2011. Porter passed away in 1964.
This portrait of Porter was discovered in the early 1990s in the attic of his boyhood home in Peru. It was on display for a short time in a café in Richmond owned by a member of the Porter family but otherwise has never been exhibited publicly. Though it is believed Porter sat for other portraits, this is the only adult painting known to his descendents. The artist, M.E. McCaffrey, is thought to be Mary Ellen McCaffrey, a second cousin to Cole Porter. Although the portrait is not dated, it is believed to date to the early 1950s. The portrait is on loan to the Hoosier Heritage Gallery from the Cole Porter family.