Featured Object

The Ghent Jacket

Henry Clay's diplomatic regulation jacket worn at the negotiation of the Treaty of Ghent

Henry Clay’s diplomatic regulation jacket worn at the negotiation of the Treaty of Ghent

Of all the roughly 3000 items in Ashland’s collections, few are as impressive and amazing as Henry Clay’s Ghent Jacket. When Henry Clay was appointed a peace commissioner to negotiate an end to the War of 1812 he would have been required by State Department regulation to have attire made for official functions. This Jacket was part of that attire. A receipt in The Papers of Henry Clay shows that Henry Clay bought materials from a merchant in Gothennburg, Sweden in June 1814 but the maker is unknown. Henry Clay wore the coat at importants events in the negotiating of the Treaty of Ghent. Afterward the coat was saved by the family and exhibited as part of the Kentucky University Museum at Ashland from 1866 until 1878. It was returned to the family and apparently remained at Ashland until it opened as a museum. This year Ashland is commemorating the bicentennial of the Treaty of Ghent and the coat as well. The coat will make several appearances in Ashland temporary exhibit “His Voice Spoke Louder Than War: Henry Clay, the War of 1812 and the Treaty of Ghent”.

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