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Annie McCormick’s silver flower bowl: From birthday gift to artifact

November 24, 2014

Filed under Community and Domestic Life

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Made by S. Kirk and Sons of Baltimore, the flower bowl includes a scene which depicts a stately house among trees with stone walls and a gazebo. One side of the artifact is engraved “To/Annie C. McCormick/On her Sixty Ninth Birthday”.

Made by S. Kirk and Sons of Baltimore, this flower bowl includes a scene which depicts a stately house among trees along with stone walls and a gazebo. One side of the artifact is engraved with “To/Annie C. McCormick/On her Sixty Ninth Birthday”.

This silver flower bowl, a birthday gift for the matriarch of the McCormick family, is decorated with elaborate scenes from Rosegarden, the family’s country estate.

Collections Advancement Project Curator Amy Frey nominated the bowl for this week’s Pennsylvania Treasure. Made by S. Kirk and Sons of Baltimore, the flower bowl is covered in a repoussé scene which depicts a stately house among trees along with stone walls and a gazebo.  A stream flows through the scene with ducks and a charming water wheel and bridge. The bowl features a mesh insert to separate and support flower stems.

One side of the artifact is engraved with: “To/Annie C. McCormick/On her Sixty Ninth Birthday”.

Although we don’t know who specifically commissioned or gave the flower bowl to Annie C. McCormick, she would have celebrated her 69th birthday on Oct. 2, 1909. A portrait by William Merritt Chase, held in the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Fine Arts Collection, shows Annie from around this time period.

Annie Criswell married Col. Henry McCormick and became a part of the extensive and influential McCormick family in the central Pennsylvania region. Mother to six children, three who lived to adulthood, Annie probably spent most her time at Rosegarden.

Situated along the meandering banks of the Yellow Breeches Creek about 12 miles southwest of Harrisburg, Rosegarden served not only as the McCormick’s summer retreat, but also functioned as a working farm. Annie’s second son, Vance McCormick, took a great interest in the estate, adding additional acreage managed by tenant farmers and raising his own horses and cattle.

But for Vance, Rosegarden was only a hobby. Vance became mayor of Harrisburg at age 30, while also serving as the President of The Patriot, the local newspaper. Throughout his life, He continued to be an influential member of the Democratic Party, serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1916-1919. Most notably, Vance served as an advisor and campaign manager for former President Woodrow Wilson.

 

About Pennsylvania Treasures:
In early 2012, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission launched the Collections Advancement Project (CAP), a program to inventory and catalog our vast and significant holdings of art and artifacts. These efforts are resulting in better stewardship of our collections which represent Pennsylvania arts, culture, history, sciences, business and agriculture. As a component of the project, CAP curators have researched rarely exhibited artifacts and works of art. We are sharing these Pennsylvania Treasures with the public through weekly updates.