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Sword and Scabbard

Object Name: Sword and scabbard
Date: ca. 1814
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Medium: Steel, brass, gilding; leather, brass, gilding
Dimensions: Overall: 38 1/4 x 4 1/4 x 2 3/8 in. ( 97.2 x 10.8 x 6 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, Philadelphia
Description: Presentation sword with straight, double-edged steel blade with etched designs and inscriptions covering approximately three quarters of obverse and reverse; gilded brass hilt with large counter-guard on obverse with eagle, anchors, flags, and a cannon molded on front, a rosette in an open circle at either side, and the initials "US" separated by a wreath molded on the back; four-sided grip with full-length figure of a mermaid holding a vase above her head in high relief on obverse and reverse; pierced knuckle-bow with oval medallion bearing a classical head in relief profile at center; pommel in the form of a helmeted head opposite which projects a curved branch terminating in a disk ornamented on both sides with a rosette, to which the upper end of the knuckle-bow is attached; leather scabbard with gilded brass throat and middle band, each with one carrying ring (tip missing); throat molded with anthemion-like design based on the form of a trident; middle band molded with leaf and berry spray.
Credit Line: Bequest of Cornelia Graham Brett
Object Number: 1911.88ab
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Marks: stamped: on reverse of blade near hilt: "ROSE" etched: on reverse of blade near hilt: "MEER" etched: on obverse of blade near center: "Midshipman John H. Graham / Lake Champlain 11th Septem'r, 1814." etched: on reverse of blade near center: "Altius ibunt qui ad / summa nituntur."

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After the War of 1812, Congress decided to award certain naval officers with presentation swords. All of these swords were of a uniform pattern, and at least the blades were made by William Rose (1783-1854) of Philadelphia (see "The American Sword," p. 195).