Lafayette College 
The Marquis de Lafayette Collections

The Memorabilia Collection, ca. 1780 -

 The Marquis de Lafayette Memorabilia Collection, ca. 1780 -  (22 linear feet -- 4 oversize shelves), contains approximately 800 historical objects relating to the life of Lafayette.  Materials are organized into the following series:
Series I Ceramics (17 Boxes)
Series II Glassware (2 Boxes)
Series III Metalware (1 Box)
Series IV Textiles (5 Boxes)
Series V Personal Accessories (8 Boxes)
Series VI Medals and Ribbons (14 Boxes)
Series VII Iconography (2 Boxes)
Series VIII Weapons (1 Box, 2 Oversize Shelves)
Series IX Miscellaneous (1 Box)
Series X Broadsides and Printed Ephemera (2 Boxes)
Series XI Sheet Music (1 Box)
Series XII Stamps and Envelopes (2 Boxes)
Series XIII Newspapers (4 Boxes)
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The majority of the materials in this collection date from 1824-25, commemorating Lafayette's tour of America and reflecting the high esteem the country felt for this Revolutionary War hero.  The commemorative pieces trace the military, political, and social successes of Lafayette's life.  Many of the pieces in this collection are iconographical with Lafayette's portrait or scenes from his life depicted on the objects.  Several pieces of memorabilia have been authenticated as original possessions of Lafayette, while many other items have been attributed as such.


Series I (Box 1-16) houses nearly 50 pieces of historical ceramic tableware related to the Marquis de Lafayette.  These ceramics are decorated with portraits of Lafayette as well as scenes from his life. platterThe series is organized into two major groupings: Staffordshire and miscellaneous pottery.  Types of ceramic pieces include platters, plates, bowls, pitchers, and cups.

The Staffordshire (Box 1-11, 17) represents the bulk of the ceramics series. The brilliant cobalt blue transfer-printed scenes of historical Staffordshire traditionally convey the strong patriotic sentiment of 19th-century America.  Lafayette was a popular subject for these commemorative pieces along with other Revolutionary War heroes.pitcher  Manufactured in England after 1825, these patriotic ceramics were designed for the American market.

The Staffordshire ceramics include a variety of Lafayette-related designs.  Views of Lafayette's home, LaGrange, are found on pieces produced by Enoch Wood and Sons of Burslem, one of the largest Staffordshire exporters to the United States.  These designs were based upon works by American artist, Alvan Fisher.  Corresponding lithographs for these Fisher designs can be found in the print collection (XXIII.7-10). Several Wood and Sons ceramics also carry a mourning scene depicting Lafayette seated near an urn bearing the name of his departed friend, Benjamin Franklin.  The J. and R. Clews Staffordshire, based upon the design of American artist Samuel Maverick, shows Lafayette's landing at Castle Garden, New York, on August 16, 1824.  This was one of  the most popular of the early Staffordshire patterns and it is the predominant pattern in this collection. redware plateEnglish manufacturer Mayer Stoke is represented by several pieces with a transfer-print depicting Lafayette at George Washington's tomb.

While these scenes are printed in the cobalt blue of traditional Staffordshire, several ceramic pieces in the collection have been identified as Staffordshire without this distinguishing characteristic.  For the most part, these are commemorative pitchers produced by Richard Hall and Sons, carrying a portrait of Lafayette after the Ary Scheffer painting of 1822.  These transfer-prints in black are placed upon an off-white background.

The ceramics located in the miscellaneous grouping of Series I (Box 12-16) include a wide variety of commemorative pieces.  Although most of these pieces are plates manufactured during the 20th-century, several are examples of pottery produced ca. 1824-30, during or after Lafayette's last visit to the United States.


The 19th-century glassware of Series II (Box 1-2) includes flasks, jars, cup plates, and salt cellars. two flasksThe flasks appear in pint or half-pint sizes and are either aquamarine, green, or olive amber in color.  Of the five flasks in the collection, two (II.1,2) are products of the Kensington Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and three (II.3,4,5) are from a manufacturer in Coventry, Connecticut.  All the flasks carry a bust portrait of Lafayette blown into the glass and date after his 1824-25 visit to America.

The collection includes two mason jars (II.6,7) with a bust portrait of Lafayette and a "Lafayette" signature in script below, mason jarand six pressed glass cup plates manufactured at the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company of Sandwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts.  Cup plates were used during the 19th century to place tea cups on after the tea had been poured into a saucer to cool.  Five cup plates depict the Bunker Hill Monument (II.8,10,11,13,14) and date ca. 1841, while a more delicately designed cup plate shows Lafayette's ship the "Cadmus" and dates ca. 1825 (II.9).  It is possible that this cup plate is one of the first pieces of glass to be pressed at the Sandwich Works.  Finally, the collection includes two salt cellars.  One (II.12), produced at either the New England Glass Company or at the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, both of Sandwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts,  may very well be one of the earliest historical salt cellars known, with bust portraits of both Lafayette and Washington.  The other (II.15) is a Sandwich Glass cellar in the shape of a paddle boat.

Next to Series III - VIII

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