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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Magnifying glass

Round silver magnifying glass with rococo design on rim and handle.


"DDB" is this part of the mark or an inscription??


Along one rim: [lion] [anchor] [G] / Sterling / DDB


Belonged to Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), the only President of the Confederacy from 1861-65. During his later years, Davis suffered much ill health, including a painful eye ailment which left him nearly sightless. Thus the magnifying glass was of vital importance to him. The donor's great-grandfather, Horatio Blake Reed, was Jefferson Davis’s jailer at Fort Monroe. Reed lived at the fort with his wife and made it a point to ensure that Davis (and his wife) were both as comfortable as possible. Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Reed became close under the circumstances and Mrs. Davis gave a number of personal items to Mrs. Reed, both out of friendship as well as the suspicion that they would eventually be confiscated by someone anyway. The objects included small pieces of silver like small trays, a candle snuffer, and a pistol, as well as this magnifying glass. Dsecended in the family to the donor.

Credit Line

Gift of Cornelius C. Vermeule, III in memory of Brev. Brig. Gen. Horatio Blake Reed

about 1865

Object Place

Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Accession Number


Medium or Technique