The platter shown here was part of a set of dishes used by the family of Elijah Parish Lovejoy. Lovejoy was the editor of The Alton Observer, an abolitionist newspaper. He was murdered at Alton, Illinois, on Nov. 7, 1837, by a pro-slavery mob who came to his place of business intent on destroying Lovejoy’s printing press. Lovejoy became a national martyr for freedom.
The platter was donated to MCHS by a member of Lovejoy’s extended family in 1937. In an Alton Telegraph interview at the time, the donor said that a platter and four plates were all that remained of a much larger set. She confessed that, “I did not realize the value of these dishes or I would have been more careful with them.”