Samuel Morse: Inventor Of The Telegraph, Failed Painter, Photographer

Samuel Morse upset his father by becoming a painter. (

You may only know Samuel Morse for that code he invented, but there was much more to the man than dots and dashes. He was also a mediocre student who dreamed (much to his parents' chagrin) of being an artist, a pro-slavery and anti-Catholic intellectual, and a widower whose infamous moment of inspiration stemmed from his wife's tragic death.

Who Was Samuel Morse?

When he was born on April 27, 1791 in Massachusetts, he was given the name Samuel Finley Breese Morse, but he often (understandably) shortened his name to Samuel F. B. Morse. His father, a noted geographer and clergyman, had high hopes for his son, but Morse proved to be a lazy student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and then Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. During his time at Yale, however, he did discover two passions: painting and the new science of electricity. When he announced his intentions to be a portrait painter, you could say his father was less than pleased.