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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  April 10, 2016 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT

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it was home to the six fairing command. we also had a woman contingent here, they were called wasps. frederick london was in charge -- she was very anxious to have the woman -- the women fly more. they knew they were needed, she was willing to fly them overseas. after the war in europe ended, the wasps were told we do not need you anymore because pilots were coming from europe. she offered to stay here free of
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charge with her women to continue flying. her offer was not accepted. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to long beach california to learn about its rich history. learn more about long beach and other stops on our tour at www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching american history tv. october 2015 march the 125th anniversary of the daughters of the revolution. next on "american artifacts,"'s visit to the dar museum in washington, d.c. to learn about their anniversary exhibit, remembering the american revolution. this is part one of a two-part program.
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>> my name is heidi campbell, i am the museum director and chief curator of the museum. the curators and i were talking about what we should be doing for this anniversary. we started looking at the objects in our collection and how many of the objects that came into the collection in the first years of the organization had strong connections to the american revolution. then we started talking about, why is that the case? obviously it has to do with the members being descendents of people who supported the american revolution, but they survived until they were given to us in the late 19th and early 20th century. then we started talking about how the american revolution was remembered. that's why we came up with the
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title, and the theme of the exhibition about remembering the american revolution to these objects. some people might ask, why do we start in 1776 when the revolution started in 1775 with lexington and concord? the reason why is, we decided 1776 was when the declaration of independence was signed, and that was when the fortunes of the revolutionaries were really put down on paper. this is looking at the declaration to say, these people are involved. before, it could've been called an uprising or an armed conflict, but now this is a revolution.
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there is a stated reason why this is happening. that is why we start at 1776. we go to 1890 minute because of the anniversary of the dar. it also encompasses the 19th century where most of our concepts of the american revolution, our imagery is really being formed and take root. it is a process of marking the significance of the revolution and the significance of the memory. i want to show you a few things, we have the exhibition divided into three sections. we have over 130 objects. it took some doing, deciding which objects to include and not to include. we have more objects but some of
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them were too fragile to exhibit. even with that, we have over 130 items. some things were as swallows a pen or a button and some things as large as an american flag and a sofa. it was a bit of a challenge to put that together and to make it make sense to visitors. i would like to show you a few things that i think that are interesting. we can't talk about all 130, but you really should see the exhibition and i'm sure that you'll pick something that you will like that i didn't talk about. in the first section, we have some subsections. this subsection we call a reminder of the war. these are things that revolutionary war soldiers owned or created, or carried during the war. my favorite item is this wallet. men and women carried while it's like this during the 18th
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century to keep paperwork as well as money altogether in their pocket. this wallet was owned by corporal christopher catlin of pennsylvania. it was probably made by a female family member for him. it was very colorful as was the custom in popularity at the time. it was saved by his family and inside of it, it includes his oath of allegiance. he signed it in 1778. from the revolution, we have his wallet and his oath of allegiance that he signed. it was kept together through all of these years. it is a piece of paper that some people carried with them. others did not. during this time period, you wanted to be able to identify yourself as a friend or a foe. when some people come to the dar museum, they think that perhaps they're going to see a lot of revolutionary war items. that is not the case. the museum was started to preserve early american objects. it wasn't defined as an american revolution museum, which means that, surprisingly enough, we do not have a lot of militaria in the collection.
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they saved a lot of what was meaningful to them but also what they had. if a woman came from a family, and she had a brother, the odds are that great great grandfather's revolutionary war musket went to the brother and she got an automatic -- an item like a teapot or something more
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gender specific to her. we have this musket in the collection that was owned by john mackey. it is a charlottesville musket which means that it was made in france. it was likely brought to us with the marquee to lafayette when he came to support the american revolution. what is interesting about the musket is that on its butt at a later date was engraved or stamps, great-grandfather john mckee, which connects it directly to the american revolution. the dates are his life dates. what else is interesting about the musket is, if you know anything about firearms, you can
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see it is not in its original condition. at some time, it was modified. the stock was cut down so you can soon the barrel extending way beyond the stock and this may have been done in the 19th century or after the revolution to make it lighter and more manageable to use as a hunting weapon instead of a military weapon. in this case, we have some items that we call touched by greatness. these items include some clothing. the waistcoat at the end is quite elaborate. it is silk and hand-embroidered and was not something you saw on the battlefield. it was owned and mourned by joseph lauren. -- joseph warren. he was the leader of the boston
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sons of liberty at was the person who dispatched paul revere on his favorite ride. he was considered one of the first martyrs of the revolution. he was killed at the batter of bunker hill in 1775. some of the other clothing objects in this case, includes this coat. this coat was saved because it was thought to be a coat of the american revolution, a soldier's uniform coat, when in fact it is from the early 19th century. we included this because it was saved for its believed relationship to the american revolution. we have a few items like that in
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the exhibition because it wasn't necessarily saved because it was in the revolution, but people believed that it was. they were searching for something to tie themselves to the american revolution. this object did that for them. it does look like a uniform for the continental army, it has the right colors and generally the right cut, but it is probably from around 1810. the other connection to the revolution is not just mistaken identity, but that after the revolution they did not want a standing army. they were not in favor of a standing army. many militia throughout the new state grew up.
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many militia's adopted the continental army uniform as their uniform. variations of the blue comes up in militia uniforms. it is a nod back to the revolution and has this very tangled story that goes along with it, but we wanted to feature this when in fact, we know that there are only two uniforms known to exist that were documented to have been worn during the revolution. no exhibition about the revolution could be had without some discussion of washington. george washington was a universally liked individual. very unique in american history. i'm sure that he had his detractors. we do hear about his exploits. these objects relate to him
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specifically. one of the very interesting items that we have is a light mask of washington. it was created by don, the original being at mount vernon. but this mask was created in the 1830's who was advertising at the time in philadelphia that he had the mold and was making plaster busts and this is one of those made from washington's life mask. this one was made for the artist emmanuel lutes, who made it the same as washington crossing the delaware.
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it has a really interesting art connection to the revolution, as well as, you are at what washington actually looked like. because the life mask was taken from his face. you finish this section with the inauguration of washington. he is elected president in 1789. one of the interesting items that i find is these inaugural buttons. he's souvenirs. we have several inaugural buttons in our collection. we have them arranged on the items that they may have been
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worn, in a manner in which they have been worn at the time. these are large buttons. a gentleman could put these buttons on his coat if he wanted to, but typically, these kinds of commemorative buttons were bought in single, maybe double and placed on a hat like this holding up the edge to create a tricorn hat. or on a rosette that could be worn on a hat, or a coat to show your support of the new government and new president. these are interesting because they include some wording that reaches back into the earlier history of the country in a colony because it was one of
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these buttons that says god save the president, instead of god save the king. there were commemorative items for the coronation of king's in england. because so many of our customs come from england, that might be the case. i suppose you could say -- you couldn't really call these campaign buttons, so the campaign is over when in fact, with washington and early president, campaigning was not part -- their little buttons, their actual buttons are not pens, with thick of them as campaign buttons. these are real buttons that are sewn on, and used in a commemorative matter. in -- there is a connection, but not to our usage of campaign buttons.
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over here we have a gown that was worn to washington's inaugural ball. her father was a general in the continental army and what's interesting about this down is it has been changed very little over the intervening two sentries. the family literally is connected to the revolution when the daughter coming down in successive generations would wear the down and have their pictures taken in it. the donors of this down to the collection only give it to us about five years ago. through all of that time, they kept it safe, taking it out of the house.
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a female family member would put it on and have her picture taken. we have one from the 1920's. in the 1920's a woman even put on a white wig from that one. we have one from the 1950's with the classic 1950's era hairstyle. we have, throughout the 20th century example the members of this family who were these gowns only once and are now having their picture taken. it is a wonderful down and we are very happy to have. we are the second section of our
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exhibition in the 19th century and we started with the death of washington in 1799, washington dies at mount vernon. that leads to a nationwide period of mourning. it was something that happened spontaneously. the news was circulated at the former president was dead, people from around the country had funerals, parades, and created items to remember the former president and very popular hero of the revolution. in this section, we discuss some of that literal remembering and commemorating of washington himself. one thing that stands out at this time period is this creation of imagery of the apotheosis. the apotheosis is an old
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concept. it goes back to ancient times where a warrior is made god-like by lifting him up and celebrating him. when we start seeing is, for example, on this jug made in staffordshire, england, is an image of washington. you see him with his arms outstretched, in taken to heaven by angels. in the corner, we have, sacred to the memory of washington. we have objects like this jug or this picture, i large print showing the same imagery, showing him being taken up to heaven.
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this is language that 19th century americans understood. their education, their context takes them back to age in greece and rome. they understood these symbols being used to celebrate washington. so we have objects being made so that people can purchase them and hang them in their homes to remember him and to warn him as well. i find it interesting that this jug for instance and many of the ceramics in the exhibition are coming from england at this time. business people in england, just like every country -- not everyone was necessarily supportive of what their government was doing at the time.
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we do have english people who are supportive of the revolution, though at the time, they probably did not talk about it too much, but as business people, they saw an opportunity. a new market. now it isn't just another colony, it is a market. so they start making consumer goods that would be attractive to americans. what is attractive to americans? washington is attractive to americans. so we have these objects that show washington both in a morning context -- both in a mourning context, but as a decorative motif on objects. further into the 19th century, we have what i think is one of the most trysting things about -- most interesting things about this time.
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period. the creation of imagery of the founding fathers relating to the revolution that continues to this day. when we think of george washington, we immediately get a picture in our heads. that picture was created at this point in time in the 19th century. when we are talking -- we have a section called the cult of the founders. after washington dies, and as
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the 19th century moves on, people are looking for images, personalities relating to the revolution, they are remembering people, people are starting to die who were directly involved. that includes the founders, but not just the founders. the men and the women who helped when the revolution -- they are starting to die. people are looking beyond washington for images. what we find, what i find interesting is that the image of washington is created, as well as the image of what we consider a founding father, that is created during the early part of the 19th century. we have a portrait here of george washington that was painted, likely in france. it doesn't exactly look like george. not our imagery. we might say that kind of looks like george washington, but it also kind of looks like a french officer. the image that we see of george and imagine of george comes to us through rembrandt peel who created this portrait of washington that takes your attention right away when you
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come to this section. peel paints washington in the 1790's for the first time, then he continues to paint washington. he paints 70 portraits of washington during his lifetime. some of them show him in military uniform, like this one. some of them show him in civilian clothing as president. this is the portrait, this is the image of washington that most people think of when someone says george washington. this painting dates to around 1850. it is one of the later versions. peel found that this was a lucrative enterprise, so painting 70 of them was good
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business for him. over here, we have some of the other founders. it is not just about washington. in the early 19th century, we see discussion and remembrance and commemoration of other founders that were influential in the revolution. one of them is benjamin franklin. we have this print and this medallion that shows franklin in his coonskin cap that he liked to wear, particularly over in france as a symbol of being from america, being an american. this image of franklin, with his round spectacles and his cap, starts to become another image of in the american revolution,
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of a revolutionary. an early american gentleman, of a founding father. we have these types of objects, they are all consumer objects. there are things that people bought because they wanted to have an image of franklin in their homes. these were all created for sale. i think that is also something that we are talking about in the 19th century, as the industrial revolution started to really take hold and things could be created in larger and larger quantities which means that they are more affordable to people and more people can purchase these items. business people are looking for ways to make things attractive to americans, and again, they are looking for other images. washington is wonderful, but what about these other people. we have things with franklin,
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items and images of thomas jefferson. and other revolutionaries. we hope that visitors take from the exhibition several things. one, that this remembering of the revolution is an ongoing process. that also, the saving of items -- we ask people, what do you save? we do not have any items to show if families did not save things. saving and collecting is two different things. we talk about the collecting of relics, but primarily what we see here are items that have been saved. they were saved from the american revolution, but also
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the 19th century because of some connection. either the imagery, or the connection to a relative to the american revolution. the act of saving is another message that we would like people to come away with. of course, we want them to appreciate the fact that these images of our founders are the ones that we have today. also the fact that we are happy to have these objects here. that the daughters of the american revolution have created this museum to save these things and share these things. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> this is part one of a
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two-part look at "remembering the american revolution." >> american history tv brings you archival coverage of president so racist. -- presidential races. primary, the former california governor one contests in vermont in connecticut and into new york and in another victory could today's lament them against democratic front rudder bill clinton but jerry brown finished third in new york with governor clinton when he missed it on his own to secured party nomination. this program is about it now or. >> we welcome you and are very glad to have you. we wish you

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