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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Pennsylvania German plate, early 1800sPennsylvania German plate, early 1800s

The German inscription on this red earthenware plate translates as "I have been riding over hill and dale / And everywhere have found pretty girls." It was purchased for the National Museum in 1898 for a synoptic series on the history of American ceramics manufacturing. In the 1950s and 1960s, as curators became interested in illustrating the ethnic origins and folklife of the American people, the plate was reinterpreted as an example of craft traditions brought to Pennsylvania by German colonists and kept alive by their descendants.

See also: Ceramics

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