A month ago, Gossips published the account of a brawl between Whigs and Democratics that took place in 1840 on the steamship South America. The brawl was incited by a portrait of Martin Van Buren, painted by Henry Ary, which hung in the steamer's main saloon. The portrait, after being cut and kicked and nearly burned in the melee and later used for some years as a fire board in someone's front parlor in Brooklyn, ended up being given to the Long Island Historical Society, now the Brooklyn Historical Society.
At the time I published the account, I made an inquiry about the portrait, and today I received a reply from Elizabeth Call, Special Collections Librarian at the Brooklyn Historical Society. She told me they did have a portrait of Martin Van Buren, but it had been deaccessioned in 1987, and she could not confirm that it had been painted by Henry Ary. She provided the information that the receipt of "a portrait in oil of President Martin Van Buren, painted while he was Attorney General of the State, between the years 1815 and 1819, and presented by the Hon. John G. Schumaker, of this city" is recorded in the society's annual report for 1867. Schumaker, of course, is the person who wrote the account, in which he indicates that it was he who rescued the portrait from its ignominious function in the parlor and gave it to the Long Island Historical Society. Elizabeth Call also sent a copy of a photograph of the portrait from the society's files.