Born in 1818, Patrick Henry Reason was the son of West Indies immigrants Michiel and Elizabeth Reason and older brother to Charles Lewis Reason. Reason attended the New York African Free School with his brother Charles. . He became an engraver at thirteen, creating an engraving of his school that was used as the frontispiece of Charles C. Andrews’s History of New York African Free Schools (1830).
A few years later, Reason was apprenticed to engraver Stephen Henry Gimber.. One of his more well-known design is an engraving of a kneeling female slave under the motto “Am I not a Woman and a Sister?” which was widely used by female abolition societies. He also made many engravings for individuals, including a portrait of the Rev. Peter William Jr, Amy Matilda Cassey’s father. Racism often impeded his career as an engraver, often preventing him from receiving work. In 1830, he became a founding member of the Philomatheon Society, which in 1842 became the first lodge of the Negro Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. Reason also worked as a lecturer, speaking on the educational, social and economic situation of African Americans. He married Esther Cunningham, an Englishwoman, in 1862, and he moved with his family to Cleveland five years later. He would opened his own engraving shop there in 1886, and died in 1898.

Patrick Henry Reason (1818-1898)