The Collections of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution are an important part of the history and activities of the organization. They may also be seen both as a fascinating way of educating the public about the 18th century origins of the American nation and as a window on the 20th century’s changing perspective on how that period should be interpreted.
In the early years of the Society, from the 1890s until the 1940s, the historical focus was not on collecting artifacts, but on the placement of stone or bronze markers to commemorate Revolutionary War events and heroes. It was a slower time, less dominated by the automobile, and roadside markers proved extremely educational. The few objects that became the nucleus of the collection were gifts from members, most often appreciated for their antiquarian value. At the same time, the Society’s Color Guard formed its own collection, which includes noteworthy relics such as a lock of George Washington’s hair in a gold locket and a colonial period silver cup.
In 1963 the Society’s Board of Managers formed a Special Projects Committee. Its mission was to broaden the educational role of the Society through support of historic sites in the Delaware Valley related to the Revolutionary War. It has done so principally through the acquisition of decorative and fine arts objects which help enable these sites to interpret the history of the Revolutionary Era in accordance with the best standards of museum curatorship. Over the years since then furnishings have been placed at General Varnum’s headquarters at Valley Forge National Historic Park; at Harriton House in Bryn Mawr; at Waynesborough in Paoli; and at other museums. These furnishings, which you will find in the following catalogue, help bring the Revolutionary War era alive for these sites, as well as providing significant museum-quality objects, everyday wares, and military artifacts, which are intended to be enjoyed by curators, historians, and the general public alike.
If there is one object that calls for special note, it is the Anthony Wayne Medal. This beautifully engraved gold medal was awarded to General Anthony Wayne by Congress in gratitude for his leadership in recapturing Stony Point on the Hudson in 1779, a key action for the American’s cause. Nearly two centuries later, in 1978, the Society was able to purchase this medal and make it available for permanent public exhibition.
The Society invites you to study this magnificent collection of Americana on our web site and if you would like more information on an individual object or the location where you might see it in person, please contact the Sons’ office by telephone, at 215-545-1888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.