Ohio History Journal

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"The Spirit of '76" is the most popular patriotic pic-

ture in the United States. This is a very broad state-

ment but since the appearance of the famous painting

at the Centennial in Philadelphia in 1876, it has been

reproduced in colors, steel engravings, half tones, and by

every process known to the engraver, as has been no

other patriotic illustration. This, of course, is not news.

The favor with which the people have regarded this

spirited picture is generally known. Perhaps not one of

the readers of the QUARTERLY who views the half tone

reproduction here, will see the picture for the first time.

Most of them will have seen it often.

The statement may be ventured, however, that very

few have known it to be the conception and work of an

Ohio artist. The original painting was made by Archi-

bald M. Willard, in the city of Cleveland, shortly prior

to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in 1876.

Archibald M. Willard was born in Bedford, Ohio,

August 22, 1836. His father, Rev. Samuel Willard, was

a Baptist minister who came to Ohio from Vermont.

His grandfather who lived in the Willard home was a

Revolutionary soldier and a relative of General Stark

who led the Green Mountain boys to Victory at Ben-


The boy listened with deep interest to the stories of

the Revolution as they fell from the lips of his grand-

father. From earliest childhood he was imbued with