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Salisbury #SSJC JEFFERSON CUP
Sterling silver Reproduction of the Jefferson Cup
In 1806 Jefferson's friend and teacher, George Wythe, died, leaving him a bequest that included his "silver cups." Correspondence between the executor of Wythe's estate and President Jefferson reveals that there were two cups but provides no further description.1 They might have had outmoded Rococo decoration. For that or another reason, Jefferson decided to have them melted down. The Wythe cups and two of Jefferson's own canns (round-bellied mugs) were converted into a new set of eight tumblers in 1810.
Tumblers, a popular form of silver cup from the seventeenth through the eighteenth century, were a type of low round-bottomed cup hammered from a disk of silver with a base proportionately thicker than the sides. The heavier bottom to the cup provided stability and helped prevent spilling. Tumblers were often used in traveling sets, or canteens.