1962.0084 A Mourning brooch, view 1
  • 1962.0084 A Mourning brooch, view 1
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Mourning brooch (Mourning pin)

  • Category:

    Jewelry

  • Place of Origin:

    Washington City, United States, North America

  • Date:

    1797

  • Materials:

    Gold; Enamel on copper; Hair; Leather; Glass

  • Museum Object Number:

    1962.0084 A


  • Complete Details



Object Number

1962.0084 A

Object Name

Mourning brooch (Mourning pin)

Category

Jewelry

Credit Line/Donor

Gift of Mrs. Paul Hammond

Place of Origin

Washington City, United States, North America

Origin Notes

Possibly made by a jeweler in Washington, DC or in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Date

1797

Mark or Signature or Inscription or Label

1. Inscription; Obverse, upper frame; "WASHINGTON.." in gold letters on black ground
2. Inscription; Reverse; "Hair of/ George and Martha/ Washington/ cut by/ Martha Washington/ for/ Elizabeth Wolcott/ in/March 1797." engraved in script

Subjects

George Washington; Martha Washington; President; Political figure

Materials

Gold; Enamel on copper; Hair; Leather; Glass

Dimensions (inches)

1.62 (H) , 1.18 (W)

Dimensions (centimeters)

4.13 (H) , 3.01 (W)

Object Description

Web - 06/16/2015

This oval brooch and pendant has an enamelled gold and white bordered frame enclosing a black ground with the name "WASHINGTON.." set into the upper hemisphere in gold letters and the lower section with two boughs of white and gold paired leaves like a stylized laurel. An uncolored beveled glass encases two entwined locks of grayish-white and brown hair. The locket is engraved on the reverse in script: "Hair of / George and Martha / Washington/ cut by / Martha Washington / for / Elizabeth Wolcott / in / March 1797." Elizabeth Stoughton married Oliver Wolcott, Jr. of Litchfield, Connecticut in 1785. Through his family, she met President George Washington and became friends with his wife Martha. Wolcott's father, Colonel Oliver Wolcott Sr. served with George Washington in the Revolutionary War and was well acquainted with the President's circle. Oliver Wolcott Jr. trained as a lawyer and his career as a public official drew him to Washington in 1789 when he served as an Auditor for the United States Treasury. In 1795 he succeeded Alexander Hamilton as Treasurer, serving until 1800. From 1817-1827 he was the 24th Governor of Connecticut, following his father's legacy of public service. When this elegant memento of a friendship between the Washington and Wolcott families was donated, the owner knew that the hair was presented by Martha Washington to her great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Stoughton Wolcott. In her letter to Winterthur's founder, Henry Francis du Pont, dated January 18, 1962, she stated: "Dear Harry, It gives me great pleasure to present you with this little Historic treasure. You are giving the American people so much pleasure & inspiration through your beautiful collection of Americana at Winterthur, that I like to think that our family has contributed something even if it is in so tiny a way."

Bibliography and Bibliographic Notes

[Book] Swan, Susan Burrows. 1977 Plain & Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850.
Published: p. 183, fig. 103
[Article] Peck, Robert McCracken. 07//2015 George Washington's brush with immortality: The hair relics of a sainted hero. Antiques. 1532 (4): 124-131.
Published: p. 124, fig. 1.