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The earliest known hand-drawn view of Harvard College, "The East Perspective From The Church in Cambridge", Samuel Griffin (1762-181...

The earliest known hand-drawn view of Harvard College, "The East Perspective From The Church in Cambridge", Samuel Griffin (1762-181...

Item Description:

Watercolor and ink on laid paper, framed; together with portrait miniature of Samuel Griffin (1762-1812), circa 1785, attributed to William Lovett (1773-1801), Boston, MA, circa 1785, watercolor on ivory, gilt locket case.

Provenance:

By descent in the Griffin Family to the present owner.

Dimensions:

14 3/8 in. x 21 1/4 in. (watercolor, sight) and 1 3/4 in. x 1 1/2 in. (miniature, sight)

Literature:

Harvard archives records that as a student, Samuel Griffin, son of Ebenezer and Mary Colcord Griffin, worked as a waiter for the lower tables and as curator of the college buildings during school vacations. He became a physician and practiced in North Carolina in the 1790s. After the death of his first wife, Griffin married Charlotte Hook, the daughter of wealthy Franklin County, Virginia merchant and planter, John Hook. Griffin died in 1812.
The Colonial North America Collection at Harvard library holds Samuel Griffin's leather bound 148-page student mathematical manuscript. The manuscript is full of hand-drawn and colored charts, mathematical exercises and drawings involving surveying and measuring. The library also holds two of Griffin's hand-drawn and colored views of Harvard University and Cambridge: "A northerly perspective view from a window in Massachusetts Hall," and "A westerly perspective view of part of the town of Cambridge" that share many similarities with the present drawing. The manuscript and drawings may be viewed online at colonialnorthamerica.library.harvard.edu.

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