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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

Samuel Kirk
American, 1793 - 1872
c. 1850, Baltimore, Maryland

Overall: 3/16h x 2 3/8 (diameter) inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Bayou Bend Collection, Museum purchase funded by the Bayou Bend Docent Organization

Arts of North America

This silver medal was awarded to “Miss J. Jones” for her embroidery work. It represents a young woman’s and a community’s pursuit of respectability.

This solid silver medal was given to Miss Jones for the second-best piece of needlework at the first literary and artistic exhibition among people of color in the United States, which took place in Baltimore in February 1850.

Baltimore is a city where North and South intersect. In the 1800s, slaves and a growing population of free people of color sought to better their lives by both adopting and adjusting white ideas of respectability (see Woolwork Picture in this online collection). While the exhibition was meant to show black Americans’ work in accepted styles of fiction and art, it did so as a uniquely African American event.

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