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Desk set with ink stand belonging to Henry M. Phillips (1811-1884)
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Desk set with ink stand
belonging to Henry M. Phillips (1811–1884)

James Dixon and Sons
ca. 1835
Silver and glass
Private collection

Grandson of Jonas and Rebecca Machado Phillips, Henry Mayer Phillips was a Philadelphia lawyer with ties to powerful railroad and telegraph interests. Elected to Congress in 1856, he supported preserving the Union by maintaining a careful balance between free and slave states. Like the Phillips family as a whole, he took a conciliatory, even pro-southern position on the issue of slavery in the territories. A life-long Mason, art collector, director of the Philadelphia Academy of Music, member of the American Philosophical Society, and philanthropist, Phillips was at once a Democrat, a nationalist, and a conservative. His silver desk set came to reside in South Carolina with descendants of his sister and brother-in-law, Catherine and Montgomery Moses.

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Last updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2019