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Adams/Winthrop seal ring

Adams/Winthrop seal ring Gold, topaz, hair

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    [ This description is from the project: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry: 17th to 19th Centuries ]

    This gold ring contains the braided hair of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. The hair is set beneath crystal and under a carnelian seal, which is carved with the motto “Toil and Trust[.]” The ring also displays bright-cut decorative flourishes along the sides and on the front edges.

    On February 21, 1848, Adams collapsed at work on the floor of the House. He was carried on a sofa into the chamber of the Speaker of the House, Robert Charles Winthrop, who stayed by his side throughout the following days. Adams’s wife, Louisa Catherine, arrived too late for her husband to recognize her. John Quincy Adams died on February 23. Louisa Catherine gave this ring to Winthrop the following April, including with it a note: “Will Mr. Winthrop do Mrs. Adams the honor to accept the accompanying ring containing the Hair of her lamented Husband, as a very small mark of her Esteem and Friendship.” The inside band is engraved: "J.Q.A. 23rd February 1848"


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