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February 2011

There Is Rest in Heaven

There is rest in heaven print, 86_62_29bDS1 When George Washington died on December 14, 1799, grief at the loss of the first president united many Americans. Although Washington’s funeral was held at Mount Vernon, over the following months, cities and towns throughout the nation staged their own funeral processions and other memorial events. Soon after, works of art—prints, ceramics, and jewelry—told of the new nation’s sorrow at the death of its leader and hero. Although mourning art was popular in Europe and England in the late 1700s, George Washington’s passing precipitated a new market for the genre in the United States.

The National Heritage Museum is fortunate to hold a number of pieces that mark the passing of America’s first president. Many came to us as part of the Dr. William L. and Mary B. Guyton Collection of more than 600 prints and ephemera related to Washington. This collection demonstrates the way that the memory of George Washington has developed over the past 200 years.

The print seen here, on view in our current exhibition, “Curators’ Choice: Favorites from the Collection,” and through our online catalog, was made around 1801, not long after Washington’s death. It is one of the earliest pieces in the Guyton collection. Typical of mourning art of the time, it features sentimental images of a man and a woman, shedding their tears before a monument that features Washington’s portrait and the inscription, “There Is Rest in Heaven.” In this imaginary garden setting, complete with a weeping willow and other symbolic flowers and trees, the allegorical figure of Hope, symbolized by the anchor at her feet, stands behind the mourners.

There is rest in Heaven plate, 86_62_29cDP1 The Museum holds not only two copies of this diminutive print—the image is less than 3½” in diameter—but also the copper plate they were made from. Engraved by Thomas Clarke in Boston, this print is a smaller version of one that is held by a number of institutions, including Old Sturbridge Village, the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and the Boston Athenaeum. The only other copy of the smaller version that I have located so far is at the American Antiquarian Society, which holds both. The larger version is more obvious about its role as a George Washington memorial piece. It includes an inscription below the image: “SACRED to the MEMORY of the ILLUSTRIOUS G. WASHINGTON.” I found it curious that the two versions are mirror images, except for the bust of George Washington on the obelisk, which faces to the right in both prints. There are other, more subtle differences in the figures, tree, and monument as well. Finally, the larger print sports a more ornate decorative border around the central image.

I am intrigued by the existence of two versions of the print, especially since ours is smaller and slightly simpler than the more common one. Did Thomas Clarke think there was enough of a market for both? Which came first? Was ours drawn from the larger, more complex print, or was it a study done beforehand? Did the inscription exalting George Washington help the larger version sell better?

If you have any information about this engraver or these prints, please leave a comment or get in touch with us.

There Is Rest in Heaven, print (top) and plate (bottom), 1801. Thomas Clarke (active 1797-1801), Boston, Massachusetts. National Heritage Museum Collection, Dr. William L. and Mary B. Guyton Collection, 86.62.29a-c. Photographs by David Bohl.


Model Trains Launch Vacation Week!

2010_02_14_0237_Cropped The Museum launches February School Vacation Week with a weekend filled with model railroading fun! The Northeast Ntrak Modular Railroad Club will be at the Museum on Saturday, February 19 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, February 20 from noon-4:00 p.m.

The Ntrak trains are smaller in size than traditional model trains, but are just as much fun! You can see lots of action at one glance. Come see the trains as they cross a scale model of the Zakim Bridge and navigate a power plant with a coal dumper you can operate yourself. You also won’t want to miss the 8-foot Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus module.

Trains&Group Admission to the train display is $7/family ($5/member family). Proceeds support the education programs at the National Heritage Museum and the Northeast Ntrak Modular Railroad Club.

For more information, call the Museum front desk at 781 861-6559 or write to programs@monh.org.

Photo credits: National Heritage Museum

WorldCat and the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives

Worldcat_textside_200 Did you know that the National Heritage Museum's Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives (below) has the distinction of being the first Masonic library to add its bibliographic records to the OCLC WorldCat database?

WorldCat is the world's most comprehensive online resource for finding items held in libraries, making those records available to researchers worldwide. WorldCat is a union catalog – accessible at www.worldcat.org – that allows users to simultaneously search the holdings of the 10,000+ libraries that contribute to it. They will now find the holdings of the Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives – more than 18,000 items – among them.

Van_Gorden_Williams_Library_and_Archives_01_web Why is this important? For one, it increases the Library and Archives’ visibility, promotes its collections, and helps us better serve those interested in our unique and important collections. Because of the strength of our Masonic and fraternal collections, we anticipate that researchers who don’t yet know about our library will find us while searching for materials in WorldCat. In many cases, they may find that we are the only library in WorldCat that owns a particular book. We believe that this is a win-win situation for both our institution and for researchers interested in Freemasonry, fraternalism, and American history.

For the many people who already know about the Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives, the library’s own online catalog is an invaluable tool that allows researchers to search just the Library and Archives collections and find records containing information specific to the library’s own copies (e.g. important former owners). Most of the holdings of the library’s book collection are represented in the catalog. In order to provide greater access to the archival collections, the Library and Archives has begun adding collection-level Archives records to the online catalog.

Is This a Masonic Painting?

90_14T1 Can you tell what makes this ship painting a “Masonic painting”? Look very closely at the flags it is flying and you’ll be able to make out the square and compasses symbol on the blue one atop the ship’s mizzenmast (third from the left - if you click on the picture, you can see a larger version of the image). One of the most well-known Masonic symbols, the square and compasses signify reason and faith.

The painting depicts the bark Isaac Rich as it entered the port of Leghorn, Italy, in 1876. The artist, Luigi Renault (1845-ca. 1910), was active in Leghorn from 1858 to 1880 and was appointed marine painter to King Victor Emanuel.

Ships might fly a Masonic flag if the owner or the captain were Freemasons. In the case of the Isaac Rich, the ship’s captain, William Bartlett Sheldon (d. 1903), joined New Jersey’s Burlington Lodge No. 32 in 1863. Sheldon served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. While Acting Master of the gunboat steamer U.S.S. Flambeau in South Carolina, he was captured in May 1863, but was exchanged in June 1863 and continued serving until October 1865. See our previous post about the preferential treatment that some Masonic prisoners received during that conflict.

If you would like to see the painting in person, please visit our current exhibition, Curators’ Choice: Favorites from the Collection.

The Bark Isaac Rich, 1876, Luigi Renault (1845-ca. 1910), Leghorn, Italy, National Heritage Museum collection, Special Acquisitions Fund, 90.14. 

Museum Hosts Free USAF Colonial Brass Concert - Guaranteed to Please!

Colonial Brass Web pic The United States Air Force Band of Liberty's Colonial Brass Quintet will be in concert at the National Heritage Museum Saturday, February 5 at 2 pm. 

The program will present music from 19th-century Italy, elegant classics, bebop, and toe-tapping march tunes. Composers range from Rossini and Prokofiev to Dizzy Gillespie and George Gershwin.  Tickets are free, but required. To reserve tickets, drop by the front desk during Museum business hours or call (781) 861-6559, ext. 4101.

Concert program:

L’italiana in Algeri                                 Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)

Spanish Waltz                                        G.H. Green (1892-1939)

Suite from “Lieutenant Kije”                  Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

The Circus Bee March                             Henry Fillmore (1881-1958)

Chromatic Foxtrot                                 G.H. Green (1892-1939)

An American in Paris                              George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Con Alma                                              Dizzie Gillespie (1917-1993)

The Colonial Brass features talented musicians with extensive experience in civilian and military bands and orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. The ensemble utilizes a wide variety of music to entertain audiences of all ages. They have appeared at prestigious venues such as Tanglewood, MENC (Music Educators National Conference), and the New York Brass Conference. The creativity and professionalism of the Colonial Brass inspires audiences wherever they perform.The Colonial Brass features talented musicians with extensive experience in civilian and military bands and orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. The ensemble utilizes a wide variety of music to entertain audiences of all ages. They have appeared at prestigious venues such as Tanglewood, MENC (Music Educators National Conference), and the New York Brass Conference. The creativity and professionalism of the Colonial Brass inspires audiences wherever they perform.

Coming soon - The NTRAK Model Train Show on Saturday, Feb. 19 and Sunday, Feb. 20th. Mark you calendars!

Photo credit: Courtesy of the USAF Band of Liberty's Colonial Brass

Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives: Some recent book acquisitions

Haunted_Chambers Listed below are some recent acquisitions - many newly published - on the subject of Freemasonry, fraternalism, and American history acquired since May 2010 by the National Heritage Museum's Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives. You can find all of these titles (and more) by searching the library's online catalog.

The list below is not comprehensive, but seeks to highlight some interesting, recent library acquisitions which were acquired and cataloged during the second half of 2010.

If you enjoy the list below, you may want to take a look at an earlier, related post - Some Recent Library Acquisitions on Freemasonry and Fraternalism.


Some Recently Cataloged Library Acquisitions: June-December, 2010

Baldwin, Christopher Columbus, Jack Larkin, Caroline Sloat, and Christopher Columbus Baldwin. A Place in My Chronicle: A New Edition of the Diary of Christopher Columbus Baldwin, 1829-1835. Worcester, Mass: American Antiquarian Society, 2010.

Bristol, Douglas Walter. Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Brown, Dan. The Lost Symbol [special illustrated edition]. New York: Doubleday, 2010.

Burke, Janet, and Margaret Jacob. Les premières franc-maçonnes au siècle des lumières. Pessac: Presses universitaires de Bordeaux, 2010.

Carr, J. Revell. Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750. New York: Walker & Co, 2008.

Cross, Máire Fedelma. Gender and Fraternal Orders in Europe, 1300-2000. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Obelisk_cover Curran, Brian A. Obelisk: A History. Cambridge, Mass: Burndy Library, 2009.

Détis, Elisabeth, and William Hogarth. "Guess at the Rest": Cracking the Hogarth Code. Cambridge, [Eng.]: Lutterworth Press, 2010.

Druesedow, Jean L. Men's Fashion Illustrations from the Turn of the Century. Dover pictorial archive series. New York: Dover, 1990.

Einhorn, Robin L. American Taxation, American Slavery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Falino, Jeannine J., and Gerald W. R. Ward. New England Silver & Silversmithing: 1620-1815. Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, v. 70. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2001.

Gravell, Thomas L., George Miller, Elizabeth A. Walsh, Keith Arbour, and Thomas L. Gravell. American Watermarks 1690-1835. New Castle, Del: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.

Gross, Robert A., and Mary Kelley. An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840. Chapel Hill: Published in Association with the American Antiquarian Society by The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Groth, Gary, Charles Schneider, David Copperfield, and William D. Moore. Catalog No. 439: Burlesque Paraphernalia and Side Degree Specialties and Costumes. Seattle, Wash: Fantagraphics, 2010.

CatalogNo439 Hamilton, John D., Joseph Marino, and James Kaplan. The American Fraternal Sword: A Reference Guide Illustrated by the Joseph Marino & James Kaplan Fraternal Sword Collections. Woonsocket, R.I.: Andrew Mowbray Pub, 2008.

Hartigan-O'Connor, Ellen. The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

Huber, Louis J. "Easy Initiations": A Collection of Practical Initiation Stunts for the Club, Lodge, and Fraternity. Minneapolis, Minn: The Northwestern Press, 1937.

Hunt, Lynn, Margaret C. Jacob, and W. W. Mijnhardt. The Book That Changed Europe: Picart & Bernard's Religious Ceremonies of the World. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010.

Jones, John Bush. The Songs That Fought the War: Popular Music and the Home Front, 1939-1945. Waltham, Mass: Brandeis University Press, 2006.

Kidd, Karen. Haunted Chambers: The Lives of Early Women Freemasons. New Orleans, LA: Cornerstone Book Publishers, 2009.

Lause, Mark A. Some Degree of Power: From Hired Hand to Union Craftsman in the Preindustrial American Printing Trades, 1778-1815. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991.

Lomas, Robert. The Secret Science of Masonic Initiation. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2010.

Lord, Evelyn. The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism and Secret Societies. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2008.

LastMustercover Lovell, Margaretta M. Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America. Early American studies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.

Mack, Stanley, and Susan Champlin. Road to Revolution! New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.

McRainey, D. Lynn, and John Russick. Connecting Kids to History with Museum Exhibitions. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2010.

Miller, Marla R. Betsy Ross and the Making of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2010.

Riley, Mara, and Cathy Johnson. Whatever Shall I Wear?: A Guide to Assembling a Woman's Basic 18th Century Wardrobe. Excelsior Springs, MO: Graphics/Fine Arts Press, 2002.

Schimmelman, Janice Gayle. Books on Art in Early America: Books on Art, Aesthetics and Instruction Available in American Libraries and Bookstores Through 1815. New Castle, Del: Oak Knoll Press, 2007.

BetsyRoss Stitt, J. Michael, and Robert K. Dodge. A Tale Type and Motif Index of Early U.S. Almanacs. Bibliographies and indexes in American literature, no. 14. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.

Taylor, Maureen Alice. The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press], 2010.

Teitelman, S. Robert, P. A. Halfpenny, Ronald W. Fuchs, Wendell D. Garrett, and Robin Emmerson. Success to America: Creamware for the American Market : Featuring the S. Robert Teitelman Collection at Winterthur. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 2010.

Volo, James M. Blue Water Patriots: The American Revolution Afloat. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.

Witt, John Fabian. The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Wood, Denis, John Fels, and John Krygier. Rethinking the Power of Maps. New York: Guilford Press, 2010.

Wright, Merideth, and Merideth Wright. Everyday Dress of Rural America, 1783-1800: With Instructions and Patterns. Dover books on costume. New York: Dover Publications, 1992.