Cutwork Memento with Bible Verses
Origin: America, Virginia, Christiansburg
Diameter of the primary support: 18 1/2in. (47cm)
watercolor, graphite, ink, on paper
Gift of Betty Stuart Goldsmith Halberstadt and Jon Halberstadt
Acc. No. 2003.306.1
A piece of paper, circular in shape, cut in a decorative design that radiates from the center; ornamented with watercolor drawings; and extensively inscribed. Old fold lines and the placement of the drawings and texts on the reverse indicate that the token was intended to be folded and opened like a fan. Eight pie-shaped wedges radiate from the center; a watercolor medallion or starburst surrounds the center (marked by a small hole/paper loss). Some wedges have images and texts, others only texts. Extending beyond each wedge is a lobe, the lobe being joined to the wedge only by a short section of paper decorated with a floral arrangement in a blue compote. (This motif is repeated on each of the 8 joins). Arching strips of paper form three concentric circles and link the lobes, which are otherwise separated by cutout sections. Boughs of green leaves with red berries decorated the outer two arching strips; green C scrolls and red circles or flowers decorate the innermost arching strips. The motifs at the top of each lobe are (#1) an anchor, (#2) a simple "trophy" of musical horns and music, (#3) a dove with a laurel branch, (#4) a crown of thorns, (#5) a cross, (#6) an urn, (#7) two hands extended towards one another, and (#8) a heart.
The work was received in 2003 in a modern frame with double glazing, i.e., glass on front and back.
Label:German-Americans took particular delight in creating fancy cut paper tokens and pictures. In this instance, a large sheet of paper was folded three times, then snipped to form eight central wedges from which eight lobes extend. The lobes are linked by three tiers of arched strips, with the remainder of the paper cut away to create a pleasing, lacy, open-work design. Most of the inscriptions are passages from the Bible. Pictorial motifs in either grisaille or a range of watercolors add decorative interest. The back is mostly blank; on the back, ornamentation was applied only to the two pie-shaped wedges that would have formed the front and back when the paper was folded.
Bachelor Lewis Miller made this elaborate token for his niece, Emmeline Miller Craig, the daughter of his brother, Joseph. On the back of the memento, following his name, Miller wrote "York, Pa.," identifying the place where he was born and raised. But below this, he wrote "made in Christiansburg Montgomery County State of Virginia," which is where Emmeline lived with her husband, John Craig. Miller frequently visited Joseph and his extended family in the Christiansburg area during the mid nineteenth century and, about the time of the Civil War, he moved to the area permanently.
Provenance:The earliest phase of the descent of the large group of Miller drawings owned and donated by Stuart Goldsmith Halberstadt is not firmly documented, but it is believed that the group descended initially through the artist's niece, Emmeline A. Miller (1813-1892), who married, first, John Craig (1794-1852); thence, the drawings descended to the Craigs' daughter, Elinor Lewis Craig (1847-1892), who married William C. Flagg (1857-1925). The drawings then descended to the Flaggs' daughter, Mary Sherwood Flagg (1884-1973).
In her final illness, Mary Sherwood Flagg was nursed by her close friend, Betty Bealle, who married Edward L. Goldsmith. Mary Sherwood Flagg gave the drawings to Mrs. Goldsmith in gratitude and remembrance. They then descended to AARFAM's donor, Mrs. Goldsmith's daughter, Stuart Goldsmith, who married Jon Halberstadt.
Inscription(s):It is unclear whether the texts on this piece were intended to be read in a particular sequence. The following transcriptions begin with the central wedges, start with that naming the dedicatee, and move clockwise. Some inscriptions are in script, others in Gothic-style Fraktur lettering. All are in ink.
Wedge #1: "In the year of our/Lord/1846/August 25/To/Emmeline Craig/from Uncle/Lewis Miller".
Wedge #2: "For Every house is builded by Some/man, but he that built all things is/God. But Christ as a Son over/his own house: whose house are/we, if we hold fast the Confidence/and the rejoicing of the hope/firm unto the End./Wherefore as the holy ghost/Saith, To day if ye will hear/his voice./Paul to the Heb. Cap. III./v 4.6.7."
Wedge #3: The words, "The Lords Prayer", appear above a circular design. Inside the circle is, "Our/Father, which/art in heaven, hallo/wed be thy names Thy/Kingdom come: Thy will/be done, in Earth as it is/in heaven. Give us this day/our daily bread, and forgive/us our debts as we forgive/our debtors, and lead/us not into temptation/but deliver us from evil/for thine is the Kingdom/and the power and the/glory for ever/amen"
Wedge #4: "For what is a Man profited,/if he Shall gain the whole/world and lose his own/Soul? Or what Shall a/man give in Exchange/for his Soul?/Matt. Cap. XVI./v 26."
Wedge #5: "the new Testament."
Wedge #6: "Master, which is the great/Commandment in the Law?/Jesus said unto him, thou Shalt/love the lord thy God with all/thy heart, and with all thy Soul,/and with all thy mind./This is the first and great/Commandment./On these two/Commandments hang/all the law and the/Prophets./Matt. Cap. 22/ v 36 to 40."
Wedge #7: "The Ten/Commandments./Moses in the/Old Testament/Cap 20 Book 2."
Wedge #8: "And the Prayer of faith Shall/Save the Sick, and the Lord/Shall raise him up: and if he/have Committed Sins, they/Shall be forgiven him/James. Cp. V v 15."
Lobe #1: "Hope./For there is Hope of/a tree, if it be cut down,/that it will Sprout again,/and that the tender Branch/therof will not cease./Job. Cap. XIV/v 7."
Lobe #2: "Wisdom./for by Speech wisdom Shall be/Known: and learning by the word/of the tongue. Strive for the truth/unto death, and the Lord Shall/fight for thee./Eccles. Chap. IV v 24/and. v. ----- 28".
Lobe #3: "Peace./Be in peace/with many:/nevertheless have but/one Counsellor of a/thousand./Eccles. Cp. VI./v 6."
Lobe #4: "Honour./for the Lord hath given/the father Honour over/the Children, and hath Confirmed/the authority of the mother over/the Sons./Eccles. Cap. III/v. 2."
Lobe #5: "Believe./in Christ,/our Faith./Believe in him, and/he will help thee order/thy way aright and trust in him,/and your reward Shall not fail/Eccles. Cap. II./v--6.8."
Lobe #6: "Memory./And our name Shall be forgotten in/time, and no man Shall have our works in/Remembrance, and our life Shall/pass away as the trace of a Cloud, and/Shall be dispersed as the mist that is driven/away with the beams of the Sun, and overcome/With the heat thereof./Wis. Solom. Cp. II/v. 4."
Lobe #7: "Friendship./if thou wouldest get a/friend, prove him first,/and be not hasty to Credit him./for Some man is a friend for his own/occasion, and will not abide in the/day of thy trouble./Eccles. Chap. VI./v. 7. 8."
Lobe #8: "Love./He that loveth her/Loveth life: and they that/Seek to her --- Early shall be/filled with joy./Cap IV. v 12/Eccles."
On the reverse of Wedge #3 and Lobe #3 (forming the outside of the folded token) is, "L. Miller York./Pa./made in Christiansburg/Montgomery county/state of Virginia".
On the reverse of Wedge #8 and Lobe #8 are decorations but no text.
The reverses of the remaining Wedges and Lobes are blank.