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Object Name Shield, Commemorative
Title To the Brave Women of the South
Catalog Number 0985.06.00142
Date 1909
Description Silver washed copper and lead, repousse technique relief commemorative shield. A small brass plaque on the reverse bottom edge is stamped, "COPYRIGHT 1909 / A. J. VOLCK". Engraved/stamped on the lower right obverse is "BLADA / A.J. VOLCK". It is described by the artist as follows: "In the center of the top of the composition stands the figure of a winged angel, typifying the spirit of the South, holding in his right hand a laurel wreath, extending it over the field of rest, where groups of women are decorating the graves and monuments of their dead heroes. On one of the stones in the foreground is the motto: 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.' With the left hand wide open, he points to the destroyed homes-the broken fences and barren fields-as if admonishing all to return and build up a new South, conquered, but not defeated-women rushing along, dragging their children, allowing no delay, no loitering-the old veteran led by his wife, in a hurry to rebuild the old home. Some old servants are already at work repairing fences, and working in the field, and rays of light spread from the spirit over the land... the different panels are separated...framed by Southern plants and trees...The spirit stands on the keystones of an arch, marked "Pax." The other fourteen stories of the arch are each marked by the names of the states which had taken part in the defense of their beloved South. Under the arch, a representation of the greatest of sacrifices by the women-their offering of their men, husbands, sons, brothers and friends to fight for their homes and honor. At the right of this panel, the battle. Two women on the housetop, listening for the noise of a nearby battle, in great distress and praying for the victory of their friends. On the left side, the night after the battle. Under this, a panel showing a Confederate outpost; in the distance, a woman riding on a bare-back horse, with a despatch. Pendent on the right, a field hospital. A little woman brings comfort to the tent and flowers for the wounded. The lower-most panel- the home. The mother teaching the children, when in bursts a [slave], crying, 'Marse is comin' down the road!' On the small vignette over this group, soldiers are coming home from the surrender."
Dimensions H-21.5 W-18 inches
Made Adalbert J. Volck, Baltimore, Maryland, 1909
Provenance This shield was intended by Adalbert J. Volck to be a monument to "The Brave Women of the South."

According to one source, "The last important piece of silversmithing executed by the artist was a memorial shield to Southern women made in the year 1909. It was dedicated by the venerable craftsman to the women of the South as a continual reminder to those of the present generation of the splendid example of self-sacrifice, endurance and womanly virtues displayed during the War between the States, and which still exists as an important factor in making the New South greater and more prosperous than ever."

Volck produced a number of other shields, but only two others are known to survive today. One is a bronze version of this design, which is held at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. The other shield, also a bronze, features King Arthur motif, "The Death of Arthur," and is at the Maryland Historical Society.
People Volck, Adalbert Johann (A. J.)
Subjects African Americans
slaves
slavery
women
civilians
Art
Silver
Shields