Jacob Hurd (American, 1702 or 1703–1758)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


12.2 x 12.6 cm (4 13/16 x 4 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The raised baluster-form cann has a center point visible on the bottom. The cast stepped and splayed foot has been trimmed on the lathe on the underside and then thickly soldered to vessel. The applied molding has paired scored lines at the flaring lip. A cast two-section scroll handle with plain thumbgrip has a molded drop at its upper joining and a disk at the lower end. A flattened sphere forms the terminal, with an oval air vent below.

Two small solder repairs to vertical rim splits and a crescent-shaped repair to vessel above foot and to right of handle.

The presentation of specially engraved silver to tutors by their grateful students was practiced in England long before the custom was emulated in colonial America. Such gifts served as a show of appreciation even as they augmented a tutor’s modest income. Tutors were aware of how much each student may have contributed toward these gifts, as proved by one teacher’s surviving records. Therefore, tutorial silver may also have been used by students to secure favor. At Harvard College, tutorial silver was traditionally given until 1767, when reformation of the educational system improved faculty salaries and rendered such gifts unnecessary.
The handsomely engraved cann bearing the Rogers family arms was given to Daniel Rogers by the Harvard class of 1740. It shares the same engraving and presentation inscription as an unmarked elliptical tobacco box, which may be the same one stolen from Rogers in a student prank of about 1735, along with wine and Bristol beer.
A grandson of the Rev. John Rogers (about 1630 – 1684), Harvard’s fifth president, and a graduate of the class of 1725, Daniel Rogers served a rocky tenure as tutor from 1732 to 1741. Called “a cussed Fellow, Ignoramus, [and] Blockhead” by fellow tutor Nathan Prince, who also claimed that his colleague “was not fit to be admitted a freshman,” Rogers displayed an arrogance toward his charges that made him rather unlikable.3 Yet, in keeping with tradition, he received at least two such works. Still, the low esteem in which he was held might be inferred from a pilfered tutorial tobacco box, which was the smallest sort of gift students could have bestowed.4 After a series of false starts, Rogers became minister of the Second Church of Exeter, New Hampshire, where he remained until his death in 1785.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.


"Ex dono Pupillorum" [Given by the students] in script engraved above armorial. "Rev. Daniel Rogers / Exeter, / died, 1785" in script engraved later on base; "1740" engraved on front edge of foot, below arms. Elaborate engraving of Rogers family arms is found on the body opposite handle, the shield emblazoned argent a chevron sable between three bucks trippant azure, in a scroll and acanthus cartouche. The crest is of a buck sable trippant on a torse. Below the mantling, the motto AD ASTRA PER ASPERA (To the star throug hardship) in shaded roman letters is engraved in a banner.


Marked "Hurd" in script within an ellipse to left of handle.
Ada Mark * F4723


Commissioned by the Harvard class of 1740 for Daniel Rogers (1707-1785) (HC 1725).1 Descended to his son Daniel Dennison Rogers (1751-1825) and Elizabeth Bromfield (1763-1833) m. 1796, and thence to their daughter Hannah Rogers (1806-1872) and William Powell Mason (1791-1867), m. 1831;2 to their daughter, Elizabeth Rogers Mason (1834-1920) and Walter Channing Cabot (1829-1904) m. 1860;3 to their son Henry Bromfield Cabot (1861-1932) and Anne McMasters Codman (1864-1944) m. 1892 ; to their son Charles Codman Cabot (1900-1976), and his wife, the donor, Ellen P. White Cabot (1903-1997), m. 1929.4

1. Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 7:554-60;

2. P.A.M. Taylor, More than Common Powers of Perception, The Diary of Elizabeth Rogers Mason Cabot (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991).

3. L. Vernon Briggs, History and Genealogy of the Cabot Family 1475-1927 Vol. II. (Boston: Charles E. Goodspeed & Co., 1927), 699-700; ; "The Fayerweather Family of Boston" NEHGR 145 (January 1991):66-7;

4. SSDI (Ellen P. White, 11/11/97, Dedham).

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Charles C. Cabot