Colorful Hawkin’s Zouaves (9th New York Volunteer Infantry) Hand Painted Certificate of Membership Signed by Col. Rush C. Hawkins & Medal of Honor Recipient Adolphe Libaire
In all our years of collecting, we have never seen a more colorful or well-done piece of regimental art. The certificate is made out for Abisha N. Smith of Company E who enlisted in April of 1861 and was mustered out with the regiment in 1863. This certificate was drawn during that time-period (definitely not “post-war”). The artist was Max VonGrieff, an 18-year old!!, who served in Company F.

In Don Troiani’s Civil War book, pages 48-49, another example of Max VonGrieff’s work is shown, although he does not appear to sign that work. With our example, we now know who the artist is as he prints his name in the bottom left corner.

Our certificate measures 11 x 13 inches. The paper shows toning but the colors are vibrant. Over $500 was spent archivally cleaning and strengthening this piece (Evident when you see the back of the document, but not the front). Obviously, spending that much on restoration means that this piece is excessively rare. WE FEEL THAT IS ONE OF THE PREMIER PIECES OF FOLK ART DONE DURING THE WAR.

This document painted in red, blue, black, brown, green, and gold, shows a standing image of a Hawkin’s Zouave holding the American flag in one arm and his musket with Zouave style sabre bayonet in the other. The regimental flags are painted as well as a camp scene, marching Zouaves, Lady Liberty and at the bottom, a 9th New York Vol. knapsack, bedroll, and canteen. Strung over the bedroll is a soldiers “tote” bag with the initials “A. N. S. Co. E” (Abisha N. Smith).

At the bottom of the document, Adolphe Libaire signs as Captain of Company E and Rush C. Hawkins signs as Colonel Commanding. Libaire, born in Baccarat, France, received the Medal of Honor for action on September 17th, 1862 at Antietam, Maryland, where he seized the regimental flag and urged the line forward.

Take time to examine the beautiful drawings on this document… the best piece of Civil War folk art you will ever see, and from one of the Civil War’s most colorful regiments!

#A438 - Price $2,950