Commemorative issue Spirit of '76 - American Bicentennial
Spirit of '76 - American Bicentennial
The painting, by Archibald M. Willard, originally was called Yankee Doodle, but that was changed to The Spirit of '76 because it matched the title of a song written c. 1750 by a physician in the British army at Albany, NY. Painted for the 1876 American Revolution centennial, the painting was purchased by the father of the boy who was used as the model for the drummer boy and presented to the town of Marblehead, MA. Willard, a native of the Cleveland area, was a soldier and flag bearer in the Civil War. He then was a painter of carriages until he went to New York City to study art. He concentrated on battle scenes that were inspired by his Civil War experiences. At least four versions of the drummer boy, old-man drummer, and fife player were produced. The flag of the day is displayed, but the flag bearer is not, even though that was the artist's role in the Civil War.