In our article “Sarah DeHart, Early American Silhouettist” in the September 2008 issue of The Magazine ANTIQUES, we discussed at length a large collage of silhouettes and word puzzles made by DeHart that is in the collection of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the United States Department of State in Washington and had never before been interpreted. About a month ago we received an e-mail from the registrar of the collection thanking us for our work and inviting us to their yearly donors’ reception to meet the current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
On April 30, 2009, we arrived at the State Department and were ushered into the John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room, where about two hundred guests had assembled. This room contains the Treaty of Paris of 1783 near an unfinished portrait of the American negotiators of the treaty by Benjamin West, as well as the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and a great deal of fine rococo and Federal period furniture. After about thirty minutes, a door at one end of the room opened into the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room and we queued up, giving our names so we could be announced to the secretary of state. We spoke with Secretary Clinton, telling her about our article and showing her the image of the collage in the magazine, which she graciously agreed to sign. Afterwards, we ate a delicious buffet in the main ballroom overlooking the Lincoln and the Jefferson Memorials, the Washington Monument, and the Capitol. Secretary Clinton made a short speech thanking the donors, mentioning the newest gift of a portrait of Caroline Leroy Webster, the wife of Daniel Webster, and noting that “our nation was built not only by great men, but also by great women.” Sarah DeHart was appreciated that day.
Image: Collage made by Sarah De Hart, c. 1802. Collection of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the United States Department of State, Washington; photograph by courtesy of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms