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Preservation Overview

The Foundation has been purchasing Monroe items since 1928. Many of these items can be found at the James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Often, other museums loan artifacts from the collection.

Principal among these has been the restoration and conservation of the Rembrandt Peale three-quarter-length portrait of James Monroe.  This is one of the most important portraits of the Federalist period.   Under the supervision of Dr. Clement E. Conger, then curator of the White House and U. S. State Department collections, the Foundation contracted with expert evaluators and conservators to clean and restore damage to the surface, and install it in an appropriate period frame purchased by the Foundation.

Other projects have included the repair and rebinding of eighteenth century leather-bound books, and, in some cases, the construction of acid-neutral slip cases for further protection, and the conservation of eighteenth century fabrics.

The Monroe "Landing of Lafayette" Platter
Platter Front Platter Back

James Monroe: His Personal "Landing of Lafayette" Platter. President James Monroe invited the Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis De Lafayette, to visit America and be the "Nation's Guest". He accepted and travelled to the United States with his son and private secretary. They arrived at Castle Garden in New York Harbor on August 16, 1824. They then went to Washington and were graciously received at the White House by President Monroe. Their visit lasted into 1825 and produced many souvenir items, including Historical Blue Staffordshire china. The most popular pattern, produced by Clews, was the "Landing of Gen. La Fayette at Castle Garden." This 15" x 11.5" meat platter in mint condition shows the event. A flag flies over Castle Garden, cannons fire salutes, people wave from the shoreline and mounted troops pass back-and-forth. The two three-masted ships in the harbor are the "Robert Fulton" and the "Chancellor Livingston".
Lafayette's visit is considered one of the signal events of the Monroe presidency. He travelled the country, drawing crowds from great distances who wished to glimpse the last living Revolutionary War hero. The fact that President Monroe himself chose to commemorate the event by acquiring this platter, and that his family carefully preserved it for generations, makes this an historic artifact indeed.

The platter can be viewed at the James Monroe Birthplace Visitors Center in Spring, 2012.

The Monroe Bowl

 Punch Bowl (circa 1822-1827)     Punch Bowl (circa 1822-1827)

This punch bowl, which dates from the period 1822 to 1827, is ornamental with eagles identical to those on the Monroe dessert service made by the Parisian manufactory of Dagoty and Honoré.  Of great significance, and contrary to every published account, the decoration of the Monroe service is executed in lithographic transfer to porcelain, as is the eagle decoration on this bowl.  It differs from the White House service, however, in one important detail.  It bears the name "W. A. Barnet, del." inscribed within the ribbon that flows outward from each eagle.

The bowl is one of the most significant discoveries from the Monroe era to enter the market in recent years.  It not only provides documentation for the designer of the Dagoty and Honoré service and insight into the furnishing of the President's House, it helps expand our understanding of the relationship between the American government and diplomatic circles abroad, and highlights the strong relationship between France and the United States in the period after the War of 1812.  The bowl also provides an important link to a large body of previously unexplored documentary material.  These documents, deposited in the archives of the State Department, have been overlooked in previous explorations of decorative arts associated with the President's House.

William Armand Barnet (b. 1795), whose name appears on this bowl, can be counted among the most talented Americans in France during the early nineteenth century.  He was the eldest son of Isaac Cox Barnet, a professional American diplomat who served in a number of posts after 1797, including early appointments as American Consul to Brest and Commercial Agent at Le Havre.

The Monroe Bed

   Monroe Bedframe (circa 1818) Monroe Bedpost (circa 1818)

This "French" or "crown" bedstead made in Washington, D.C. circa 1818 is attributed to William Worthington, one of the region's most accomplished artisans and one of the few local cabinetmakers chosen to make furniture for the Monroe White House.  With the exception of a small group of French or crown bedsteads made by Duncan Phyfe, Charles Honoré Lannuier, and artisans related to them in New York, this bedstead can be considered among the most impressive examples of its type produced in America during the second decade of the nineteenth century. 

Bookplate Endowment

     To preserve the books in the James Monroe Memorial Library, President Monroe's great great grandson, Laurence Gouvernor Hoes, instituted a plan whereby each book would be endowed with a gift.  The benefactors of the book plate endowment will write his or her name and/or someone he or she wishes to honor on an adaptation of a bookplate belonging to President Monroe.   The endowment is in perpetuity, the name of the endower, the name of the person honored and the date being cross-indexed in the Library files for perpetual identification.  The name will be recorded in a leather-bound book and exhibited in the museum.  The facsimile of the Monroe bookplate along with the handwritten names of the benefactors and those honored will remain in the archives of the museum through the continued stewardship of the James Monroe Memorial Foundation.

     Do you have a favorite teacher, a family member, new grandchild, a graduating student, a patriot, hero, deceased loved one?   Would you like to memorialize their names in President Monroe's Library?

     Print out the Bookplate Endowment form and mail it along with your donation of $35 or more to the address enclosed.

     In the space following "A Book Has Been Endowed By", write in ink your name, followed by your address, city, state and zip ccde.

     You may, if desired, insert the words "In Honor Of" or "In Memory Of" and add the name of the person so honored or memorialized. You may also add this person's address and, if you would like, we will write to that person telling them of your gift and thoughtful remembrance.