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French Officer’s Sword
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

French Officer’s Sword

Date: about 1750
Catalog #: 1980.0399.0227    Accession #: 1980.0399
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 4" H x 37" W x 3.5" D

Physical Description

French silver-hilted officer’s small sword with silvered guard and knuckle bow.

Specific History

This artifact is part of the large collection of firearms and militaria from the Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson collection.

Brem Jackson (1910-1979) was by all accounts a modest and intensely private individual. He was unknown as a collector to neighbors and other military connoisseurs. Born in New York, he was raised with a French governess who told him stories of the Napoleonic Era and instilled in him an early fascination for the French emperor.

His family moved to Florence, Italy and remained there for 14 years. While there he studied and became fluent in French, German, and Italian. While traveling Europe, touring battlefields and military cemeteries, he began collecting and making miniature model soldiers. After World War II, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where his collection further grew with the addition of original uniforms and military as models for his interest in miniature soldiers. He collected enough antique gear and uniforms to field a small army. He began but never completed cataloging his collection of items ranging in date from Classical Greek through World War I and housed in a large barn known locally as "Brem's Place." The barn, wagon shed, and ship-studio contained not only the collection but also a master craftsman's studio, forge, and an outstanding military reference library. From here Jackson gathered, restored and researched his world-class holdings of militaria. He had an underground firing range on the property and occasionally even fired off cannons outside the barn. Although he occasionally corresponded with the Smithsonian's curators of military history, he never met with them and gave no notice of his intended bequest to the nation.

Much of his collection was part of a large bequest to the Smithsonian upon his death in 1979.

General History

This type of sword was used by both French and American officers during the American Revolution.


Countries: France, United States
Era: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
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