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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Spirit of '76

"The Spirit of 76" located in the Selectmen’s Room of Abbot Hall in Marblehead, MA, was painted by Archibald M. Willard of Ohio. This painting symbolizing the spirit of the American Revolution, was exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it "stirred the heart of the nation." It was sent on tour of several major cities and then was purchased by General John H. Devereux and presented to his native town, Marblehead, "...whose history is so interwoven with Colonial and Revolutionary times and whose patriotism shone forth in every epoch..."

Willard's search for models whose faces would express the courage and determination of the early patriots resulted in the choice of the artist's father for the central drummer and a farmer-soldier named Hugh Mosher for the fifer. The model for the young drummer was a schoolboy, Henry K. Devereux, son of General Devereux who together with Archibald Willard hung this painting in Marblehead in 1880. Since then visitors from all nations have been moved by what has been called the world’s "...most inspiring patriotic painting."

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