Snare Drum, "Welcome Lafayette"



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Snare Drum, "Welcome Lafayette"

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Snare Drum, "Welcome Lafayette"
Abner Stevens Music Shop and Store, Pittfield, Massachusetts

Content Description: 

The drum cylinder is made from brown varnished bent wood shell with a six and one half inch overlap secured with brass headed tacks arranged in vertical rows as well as in a circle around the ivory breather hole and in teardrop patterns above and below breather. Hoops are 1 and 1/2" high, red, and secured with small pegs. Six leather rope tighteners survive and are not decorated. Four gut snares are attached to the bottom hoop. Inside the drum is a paper label reading: "ABNER STEVENS, Keeps constantly on hand for sale, at his MUSIC SHOP AND STORE, in Pittsfield, Mass., Bass and Tenour (sic), DRUMS, FIFES, and most kinds of musical instruments, Strings, Reeds, Bows &c. &c. Made in the neatest manner, and sold cheap for cash. 1824." The great significance of this drum lies in its painted decoration. Red and gilt embellishment around the breather hole includes an eight pointed star, a stylized sunburst above, four ribbon or bow-like motifs at the sides and above and below the start the legend: "WELCOME LAFAYETTE". This is an extremely rare item and because the brass are over the decoration, obviously made especially for the Lafayette reception. This large, rope tightened military drum is similar to many others used throughout New England in the early 1800s. Military drums led marchers in parades and at militia musters, as well as being used for signalling troops in camp and on the battlefield. This drum was made in 1824 in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, who made a triumphal tour of the United States in that year. A French aristocrat, Lafayette volunteered as a soldier in the American Revolution and became a close friend of George Washington. As a result Lafayette was respected and well liked in America. The return of this old hero to the United States almost 50 years after the Revolution was a grand occasion of pomp and ceremony in the many towns that he passed through.

Physical Description: 

Wood, skin, rope, leather, ivory, brass, iron (tacks). Overall H: 14 3/4"; diameter: 18"; drum head diameter: 17"

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, 01566
Collection of Old Sturbridge Village