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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Jeremiah Dummer, American, 1645-1718

About 1690
Gift of Louise C. and Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924; M.970.77


Silver has long been valued for its purity and lustrous sheen, and because it is durable yet easy to work. It could be “raised” from flattened sheets into almost any shape by hand-hammering the metal against stakes of various sizes. It could also be cast, soldered, or drawn out into thin wire and ornamented by means of chasing or engraving. Especially when adorned with engraved inscriptions, silver also commemorated individuals, events, and personal rites of passage, and it bore witness to many intergenerational presentations between family members. Jeremiah Dummer is the earliest American-born silversmith (or goldsmith, as he would have described himself ) whose work has survived. He learned his trade from John Hull and Robert Sanderson Sr., both of whom were born and trained in England and came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s. This tankard, with its broad, squat proportions and exuberant cast ornament, is characteristic of seventeenth-century silver made in the colonies and in England. Its earliest known owner was Rebecca Russell (1692-1771), reminding us that the ownership of tankards was not restricted to men. With the exception of the Daniel Henchman monteith and the Webster tea service, all of the silver in this catalogue was collected and donated by Frank L. Harrington, Dartmouth College Class of 1924. Mr. Harrington was president of the Paul Revere Life Insurance Company in Worcester, Massachusetts, for over twenty years. His interest in Revere led him to Massachusetts silver more broadly. He formed an extensive corporate collection of Revere silver (now owned by the Worcester Art Museum) and collected primarily silver by other New England makers for himself and his wife. A loyal Dartmouth alumnus, Mr. Harrington served as a College trustee from 1962 to 1971 and became one of the museum’s most generous donors.

Last Updated: 6/9/09