Featured Object

In each issue, the bimonthly DAR magazine, American Spirit, highlights an object from the DAR Museum collection in its "National Treasures" feature. These objects, often recent accessions or important pieces in the current exhibit, always have a story to tell about American history.

National Treasures

A Record to Remember

A huge monument dominates the landscape in this intriguing example of schoolgirl art. Sketched in pencil and outlined with a garland of flowers, the monument is not a funerary object but rather a family record. A typeset genealogy identifies the family of Charles and Chloe Smith Hay, and also records the Hay and Smith grandparents and their children. Names, dates and places of birth for 37 family members are recorded, with obituaries only for Charles Hay and four sons.

Large trees frame an architectural collage of New England buildings in the background. An architectural historian pinpointed the Observatory, Merchants' Exchange and a townhouse on Free Street in Portland, Maine. The bridge over Back Bay, Boston's State House and General Hospital, and an Episcopal Church in Providence, R.I., were also identified. The competent draftsmanship suggests a professional artist may have drawn the buildings.

The maker used silk thread, watercolor, pencil, ink and oil paint on a combined silk and linen ground. Large silk embroidered flowers interspersed with small primitive trees painted in oil on linen create a surreal foreground. Conversely, the background is primarily a painted composition on silk to highlight the architecture.

The maker is unknown, but it may have been the Hays' youngest daughter, Zilpha Ann Hay, born in 1818 in Waterford, Maine, birthplace of most of the 12 Hay children. The work contains typescript genealogy, architectural drawings and other stylistic characteristics associated with Miss Mary Rea's school in Portland, suggesting Zilpha probably created this work there about 1840.

More National Treasures

Sitting Pretty

To the Rescue

Strange Brew

Tayloe Family Ties

Ornamental Trio

Reviving the Stone

Strong Set

Fashion Flashback

Let's Go Ride a Bike

Rock-a-Bye

Isn't It Romantic

A Rockin' Good Toy

The Mystery of Mother and Child

Keep Cool

Dress for the Ages

Historical Register

Banjo Time

Getting Warmer

Virginia Map Quest

Serve It Up

Greatest Toy on Earth

Dress for the Day

Boston Uncommon

A Teapot to Revere

Seats of Honor

Birthday Threads

Clockwork

Play On

Top Drawer

Burning Bright

Seated in Revolution

Something to Crow About

Sister Stitch

Tea Time

Capturing Cherubs

A Link to the Past

Brushes with Fame

Something Borrowed

Supper Is Served

Stately Seats

Heirloom High Chest

Making Beautiful Music

Forged From Fire

For Madame's Trousseau

Let It Out

Heavenly Harmonies

Priceless Pooch

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