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Title:ambrotype: Jonathan Leavitt
Date Made:ca. 1860
Materials:wood, paper, cardboard, glass, base metal: brass; textile: velvet
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Greenfield (probably)
Measurements:overall: 3 1/2 x 3 in.; 8.89 x 7.62 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2002.12
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Ambrotype in a hinged case taken of a portrait (probably oil) of the Reverend Jonathan Leavitt (1730/31-1802). The portrait shows a clean-shaven Leavitt looking directly forward, wearing a full wig, clerical collar and dark coat, and holding a book as he sits in a bow-back Windsor; there is wood paneling behind him. An ambrotype was produced by reversing a negative and backing it with dark material that shows through as a background, against which the portions of silver preparation remaining on the negative stand out as light. The composition case is stamped with an urn, and the picture is behind a stamped brass oval; the interior of the lid has a stamped floral print on the velvet lining. Leavitt, son of Lt. Joshua Leavitt and Mary Winchell Leavitt, was born in Suffield, Mass, graduated from Yale 1758, and was ordained in Walpole, New Hampshire in 1761 as a Congregational pastor. He was dismissed from there in 1764, and his next church was in Charlemont in 1767. His house was inside the limits of Heath when it was formed in 1785; at that time, there was considerable strife between him and his congregation - accusations against him of Arminianism and lack of loyalty to the patriotic cause. He was finally dismissed, but continued to live in Heath until his death and was very involved in civic activities. His married Sarah Hooker (1742-1791) in 1761; they had 11 sons and 1 daughter. He married his second wife,Tirza Field (1749-1797), in August 27, 1792; she was the daughter of David Field and Thankful Tylor of Deerfield, who had married Jonathan Ashley (1739-1787) of Deerfield in 1771. He married his third wife, Mary Foote Todd, in 1798 (1743-1816). Leavitt died in 1802 after a difficult journey to New York City in the attempt to find his son, Joshua, who had left home secretly in 1791 and never contacted his family. HD has Leavitt's "A Concise View of the New Covenant; the Church's Duty; and of Divine Appointment, or Decrees" published in Northampton in 1801.


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