Mourning Becomes Them: The death of children in nineteenth-century American art

Art

“In the midst of life we are in death”  These familiar words, which marched across sermons and samplers alike in the early decades of the American republic, surely resonated with sixteen-year-old Charlotte Sheldon in the summer of 1796. Sheldon was studying at Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy when she heard the news: Polly Buel, another student, had died. Sheldon put down her studies …

George Washington’s brush with immortality: The hair relics of a sainted hero

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

The eighteenth century had no pollsters to assess what voters really thought about their politicians, but even without such data, the eulogistic editorials that announced George Washington’s death in December 1799 make clear that the country’s first president had assumed a status as close to sainthood as anyone has ever done in the United States. John James Barralet’s print The …