The Object at Hand- page 3 | History | Smithsonian
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The Object at Hand

A bejeweled box from a sorely beset emperor leads to a Yankee dentist, and how he rescued the beautiful empress Eugénie from a Paris mob

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Agnes Evans died in 1897. Tom brought her home to Philadelphia for burial at Woodlands Cemetery and died soon after. His will established a combined dental school and museum in Philadelphia, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. This School of Dental Medicine sent a bequest from the Evans Collection to the Cooper-Hewitt in 1983. It consisted of rings, pins, earrings, bracelets, and boxes, often gold, with enamel or jewel adornment.

Tom Evans once noted a conversation he had had with his imperial patient: "This stone," said the emperor, indicating a diamond, "I had taken from the hilt of a sword belonging to my uncle, Napoleon the First." And that stone adorned a new gift to Evans: a stickpin. One of those at the Cooper-Hewitt? Quite possibly.

By Edwards Park

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