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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Silver teapot, 1752Silver teapot, 1752

As artifacts are made, used, and passed on, they create a web of relationships. This silver teapot, centerpiece of the social ritual of taking tea, also linked family members across generations. It was made by the silversmith Samuel Casey, assisted by his apprentices, for Abigail Robinson, the daughter of a wealthy Rhode Island planter, on her marriage in 1752. Seventeen months later Abigail died, childless, at age twenty-two. Her husband remarried and had a daughter, Mary Wanton, to whom he gave the teapot as a wedding gift in 1782. The teapot was passed down in the family until 1979, when the Smithsonian purchased it at auction.

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