Target Rifle
John Henry Happoldt
Charleston
1855

Made for Charleston’s annual Schutzenfest (or “marksman’s festival), this took place in the late spring in the northern part of town near the Washington Race Course. Cancelled during the Civil War years, it was later revived by the German Rifle Club in 1868. This particularly heavy rifle (23.5 pounds) is elegantly made to reflect the fanfare and style associated with the German-founded festival. Scrolled brass work, a tube foresight and an unusual ivory handled bullet starter (for muzzle loading a tight-fitting ball down the bore) were all luxurious furnishings to target pieces. Furthermore, the massive octagonal barrel is three times heavier than an average sporting rifle barrel. The thick, dense steel would reduce vibration upon discharge and keep its bullet on a truer flight path. 

John Michael Happoldt founded what would become a prolific Charleston gunsmithing business in the early 1820s. First located at the corner of Cumberland and Meeting Streets, he later trained and employed his two sons, John Henry and Benjamin George Happoldt in the trade. Eventually, John Michael’s oldest son, John Henry, took over the family business. John Henry moved the business to 153 Meeting Street and then over to State Street, advertising all manner of personal and sporting firearms from derringers to shotguns being available at his shop. In the 1850s, the Happoldts further advertised they were capable of making breechloaders. Just before the Civil War, John Henry partnered with another Charleston gunsmith named J.P. Murray. These two renamed the business “Happoldt and Murray” and operated in Charleston for only a short time before moving to Columbus, GA.

See other items from Charleston’s annual Schutzenfest

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

These little white satin wedding slippers were worn by Maria Willard Grayson, the daughter of Hon. Williams J. Grayson, at the time of her marriage to Dr. Thomas Louis Ogier in 1833. They are very stylish for the period, being square toed slippers with long silk ribbons to tie around the ankle and a tiny ribbon bow on the vamp opening. The flat sole is thin leather. They were made as straights, but one is marked “Droit” for the right. This marking, including ”Gauche” for left, is often seen in early shoes. They are also marked in ink “M. W. O / 1833” for the original owner. Her granddaughter Julia Lynah McCoy, gave the shoes to the Charleston Museum in 1937.

In the early 1800s, women abandoned high-heeled shoes and began to wear less embellished leather or silk slippers. These remained fashionable until the middle of the 19th century. Our pair bears a label from the shoemaker, Esté / M. Cordonnier, Tient Msin de Souliers / de Femmes et Enfans, &c / Rue de la Paix No 13. / Près celle revue St. Augustin / Paris.”

Esté was a well-known shoemaker or cordonnier in Paris, as early as 1821. The Esté (and later Viault Esté ) are the most commonly seen labels in museum collections.  By 1838, Viault either bought into or married into the business and the label became Viault Esté.

While it is possible that Marian purchased these shoes in Paris, they might have been imported to Charleston, a bustling city with an array of fashionable shoe establishments.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

These images of the Joseph Manigault House - now owned and operated by the Charleston Museum - were given to the Museum, in 1994, by the daughter-in-law of Paul Rea, director of the Charleston Museum from 1903 through 1920. The house was, at that time, known as the Riggs House and was a boarding house. These images provide a rare glimpse into a specific time period of a treasured landmark and we are happy to be able to share them!

For more information about the Reas’ connection to the Joseph Manigault House, as well as a look at this Adam-style house through the pastel drawings of  Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, click here.

  1. View of the Gate Temple, a garden folly, from the second floor piazza of the Joseph Manigault House.
  2. Street view of the Gate Temple as taken from Ashmead Place
  3. View of the south side of the house
  4. Street view of the west side as taken from Meeting Street
  5. Street view of the north side of the house as taken from John Street
  6. View of the cantilevered staircase and north entrance in the Joseph Manigault House.
  7. View of the east side of the house from the roof of the carriage house. The shed in the lower left corner of the photograph is likely the shed that was attached to the stables.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Wooden bullets and Clip
Unmarked
Germany
1940-1945

Made for a Karabiner 98 Kurz bolt-action rifle (the standard service rifle of the German Wehrmacht by 1935), this metallic “Mauser K98” stripper clip is stacked with cartridges containing carved wooden projectiles. Axis powers occasionally experimented with wooden bullets in the later stages of World War II, believing a wounded soldier caused the enemy more trouble than a dead one. Fortunately, this concept was short-lived. Most wooden bullets tended to tumble in flight resulting in highly unreliable accuracy and range. Others simply shattered or disintegrated upon firing. Only under extremely close combat situations were wooden projectiles at least somewhat effective. One US Army medic recalled how the dozens of large splinters left by wooden bullets were a tremendous nuisance since “Though they weren’t deadly…every splinter had to be removed to avoid infection.”

Assorted wartime reports have also mentioned stockpiles of wooden bullets found in both Italy and Japan after the war. It is thought, however, these were used as training tools for new recruits, thus saving the metal for actual combat. William C. Anthony, a gunner’s mate (GM) in the US Navy, found this clip in France during WWII.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

This coral silk and chiffon cocktail dress would have been just the right thing to wear to an end-of-summer soiree in 1945. Made by Lee Claire of New York and sold by the fashionable dress shop Margaret Riley’s of Charleston, this dress was worn by Margaret Middleton Rivers (1913-2004), wife of U.S. Congressman L. Mendel Rivers of Charleston.TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

This coral silk and chiffon cocktail dress would have been just the right thing to wear to an end-of-summer soiree in 1945. Made by Lee Claire of New York and sold by the fashionable dress shop Margaret Riley’s of Charleston, this dress was worn by Margaret Middleton Rivers (1913-2004), wife of U.S. Congressman L. Mendel Rivers of Charleston.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

lowcountrydigitallibrary:

On August 5, 2002 divers freed the U.S.S. Monitor from its’ watery grave of 140 years. The Monitor sank on December 30, 1862 in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina while on her way to join the attack on Charleston, South Carolina. During her short life of nine months, the Monitor made naval history on March 9, 1862 when she dueled with the C.S.S. Virginia- the first time two ironclads had faced off.
Frank Leslie’s.
"Caption: ‘Panoramic view of Charleston harbor—advance of iron-clads to the attack, April 7. Union— A. Keokuk. B. Nahunt. C. Nantucket. D. Catskill. E. Ironsides. F. Patapsco. G. Montauk. H. Passaie. K. Weehawken. Rebel—1. Morris Island sand battery. 2. For Wagner. 3. Battery Bee, on Cummings Point. 4. [Fort] Johnson. 5. Fort Ripley. 6. Sumter. 7. Charleston City. 8. Castle Pinckney. 9. Fort Redan. 10. Fort Moultrie. 11. Moultrie House. 12. Fort Beauregard. 13. Harbor obstructions. 14. Cooper River. 15. Ashley River.’ [full date May 2, 1863]"
Photograph from the Charleston Museum Illustrated Newspapers Collection held by The Charleston Museum Archives.

lowcountrydigitallibrary:

On August 5, 2002 divers freed the U.S.S. Monitor from its’ watery grave of 140 years. The Monitor sank on December 30, 1862 in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina while on her way to join the attack on Charleston, South Carolina. During her short life of nine months, the Monitor made naval history on March 9, 1862 when she dueled with the C.S.S. Virginia- the first time two ironclads had faced off.

Frank Leslie’s.

"Caption: ‘Panoramic view of Charleston harbor—advance of iron-clads to the attack, April 7. Union— A. Keokuk. B. Nahunt. C. Nantucket. D. Catskill. E. Ironsides. F. Patapsco. G. Montauk. H. Passaie. K. Weehawken. Rebel—1. Morris Island sand battery. 2. For Wagner. 3. Battery Bee, on Cummings Point. 4. [Fort] Johnson. 5. Fort Ripley. 6. Sumter. 7. Charleston City. 8. Castle Pinckney. 9. Fort Redan. 10. Fort Moultrie. 11. Moultrie House. 12. Fort Beauregard. 13. Harbor obstructions. 14. Cooper River. 15. Ashley River.’ [full date May 2, 1863]"

Photograph from the Charleston Museum Illustrated Newspapers Collection held by The Charleston Museum Archives.

lowcountrydigitallibrary:

Harper’s Weekly.
"[Color image.] Caption: ‘The house-tops in Charleston during the bombardment of Sumter.’ [full date May 4, 1861.]"
Photograph from the Charleston Museum Illustrated Newspapers Collection held by The Charleston Museum Archives.

lowcountrydigitallibrary:

Harper’s Weekly.

"[Color image.] Caption: ‘The house-tops in Charleston during the bombardment of Sumter.’ [full date May 4, 1861.]"

Photograph from the Charleston Museum Illustrated Newspapers Collection held by The Charleston Museum Archives.

In 1910, the heirs of Dr. Edmund Ravenel gave the Museum these scientific illustrations as part of a larger bequest.  Edmund  Ravenel (1797-1871) was a physician, professor and a naturalist, particularly in conchology (the study of shells).  He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and began his private practice, in Charleston, in 1824.  He was elected to the chair of Chemistry and Pharmacy and taught at the Medical College of Charleston.  But in 1834, he resigned his position and became associated with the newly formed Medical College of the State of South Carolina.  Also in 1834, he published a 21-page catalog detailing 750 shells in his own cabinet.  These illustrations shown here were likely meant to serve as illustrations for that publication.  Ravenel had hired the Italian illustrator, J. Sera, about whom very little is known.  Sera died in 1836, and it is unknown why only a small fraction of the shells were illustrated.  Sera was working on another project at the time (Holbrook’s Herpetology) and it may be that there was not enough time for him to do both.  These illustrations are startling in their depth and one can absolutely understand why Ravenel would want Sera’s images or none at all.

  1. Titled, Dolium galea - So Carolina and Cassis - So Carolina.  Dolium  galea is now called Tonna galea with the common name of tun snail.
  2. Titled, Cardium Maculatum - So Carolina.  But it is no longer called  Cardium maculatum.  It now has the sceintific name of Dinocardium  robustum with the common name of Atlantic giant cockle.
  3. Titled, Fasciolaria trapezium - So. Carolina with a note above it J.  Gigantea Ke[?].  It is now called the Pleuroploca trapezium, common  name, the trapezium horse conch
  4. Titled, Fasciolaria distans Fasciolaria tulipa - So Carolina.  Top two  views, now known as Cinctura lilium, with the common name of Banded  tulip. Lower view, has the common name of True tulip.
  5. Titled, Pyrula Carica - So. Carolina.
  6. Titled, Cytherea mercenaria - So. Carolina
  7. No title.  Illustration of  nineteen dorsal & ventral views of ten different genuses of marine gastropod mollusc shells.
  8. No title.  Illustration showing three views each of three different  bivalve, gastropod shells.  Handwritten on the right side is,  “Americana”, “Compechensis”, and “Ponderosa.”
  9. No title. Illustration of eight ventral, dorsal, or side views of four different genuses of marine gastropod shells.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.

Officer’s small sword with leather scabbard  
Unmarked
Continental Europe
1750-80

Small swords – so called because of their diminutive and dainty appearance when compared to other war sabers of the time - were the primary type employed by Patriot officers during the American Revolution.  Although overall this piece fits within the standard style most mid-18th century small swords, this particular piece is outfitted with a few upgrades likely ordered by its owner, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Unlike the many other inexpensively made small swords of the era, Pinckney’s is adorned with an ivory handle wrapped in a gold wire. Furthermore, there is evidence of silver plating on the brass hilt. Despite its lighter weight and elegant appearance, small swords were durable and sturdy; the concave triangular blade was far stronger than the average flat blade.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent Charleston attorney, was a member of several revolutionary committees but favored resolving differences with Britain until separation appeared inevitable.  A Continental militia officer during the Revolutionary War, he saw action in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida; served as an aide to George Washington; and commanded Fort Moultrie during the Siege of Charleston. He later resumed his legal and political career, served as a minister to France in 1796 and was the Federalist candidate for President in 1808. Click to view Pinckney’s silk diplomatic uniform jacket and his silver gorget.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

The many shades of indigo dye are beautifully evident in this embroidered coverlet fragment. Probably dating to the early 19th century, the stitches used include tambour stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch and French knots. The individual flowers have varying shades, from the palest blue to the most intense deep indigo blue, along with intricate designs to given them even more depth and variety.

Indigo, because of its range of blue color and lightfastness, was easily the most popular natural blue dye for centuries, from the earliest known specimen of indigo-dyed cloth c. 3500 BC to 21st century art and craft. It seems likely that the threads for this delightful piece demonstrate the appeal of indigo.

What is a bit of a mystery though, is the piece itself. Made of pieces of white cloth seamed together, some of the pieces are irregular and the outer edge is totally unfinished. The central portion is done all in tambour stitch, while the outer border has no tambour work but a variety of other stitches. The flowers in the outer border echo the ones in the center, but are not exactly the same. Even the thread, while matching fairly well in color, seems to have a different texture and, of course, is executed differently. There are embroidered wedges added in the inner corners that were obviously embroidered before inclusion, as some of the embroidery is cut off. Perhaps these wedges (matching the center embroidery) and the outer border were added later by another hand in an attempt to save the fragment and make it larger. The overall dimension of the piece is 62” x 46”. It came to the Charleston Museum in 1927 with no explanation, so it is unlikely that the mystery will ever be solved.

This cover is on exhibit in Indigo: Natural Blue Dyes in the Lowcountry until September 2, 2013.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday