PRESENTING a UNIQUE and ORIGINAL piece of AMERICAN HISTORY, namely, an ORIGINAL photograph, of the unveiling of the Jefferson Davis Statue in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. by Adele Hayes-Davis, Jefferson Davis’s great-granddaughter, (clearly with the honor of carrying out the unveiling as she is holding the unveiling cord) as part of the unveiling ceremony held in 1931.

Adele, would have only been 16, when this ceremony took place, having been born in October 1915. She passed away in 1991.

Senator Pat Harrison, is the gentleman on the extreme right, standing beside Adele.

We believe, that the lady on the left is Adele’s mother, Doree (DeWitt) Hayes and the other 2 gentlemen are Arthur Cook (a member of the office of the Architect of the Capitol who was in charge of the arrangements for the unveiling ceremony) and Journalist, Edgar S. Wilson, who gave a speech.


The photo has a hand written notation in pencil on the rear of it that reads:

The frame backing also has a hand written notation that reads:

We are confident, that these (The Smith’s) were the original recipients and owners of the photo, as we also have in the Collection, an Historic early Engraving of Jefferson Davis as a young man, by Enoch Wood Perry, with accompanying letter signed by his grandson, Jefferson Hayes Davis and sent to a ‘Mrs. A.G. Smith’ in Belton, Texas in 1935. This photo was also framed in Belton, Texas.

From the content of a letter from Jefferson Hayes Davis to Mrs AG Smith (also in our collection and included with the Early Portrait Engraving of Jefferson Davis (Link below)), on ‘The First National Bank of Colorado Springs CO’, headed Notepaper, dated April 2, 1935 and addressed to ‘Mrs. A.G. Smith of Box 543, Belton, Texas’, it appears that Mrs Smith was doing a thesis on the ‘Early Life of Jefferson Davis’, and had written to Jefferson Hayes Davis on March 20th 1935 requesting assistance with her thesis and specifically looking for a picture of a young Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson Hayes Davis was obviously keen to help, but had no pictures at hand (he had misplaced them) and must have forwarded this photo and the engraved portrait of his grandfather to Mrs. Smith, when his niece returned (as referred to in his letter).

We believe, however, that the items somehow passed from the Smith’s Family to well known author, suffragist and ‘staunch’ Confederate (with her late husband, Major William Obenchain, being a Confederate Veteran, who had served on General Robert E. Lee’s Staff during the war) , Eliza Calvert Hall-Obenchain, some time pre-her death in December 1935.

Check out the Exceptionally RARE Original Engraving (with accompanying letter from Jefferson Hayes Davis) of an Early Portrait of a Young Jefferson Davis by Enoch Wood Perry, also in our Inventory and part of the same Collection:


In 1864, Congress passed legislation that invited each state to contribute two statues of prominent citizens for permanent display in the former meeting hall of the U.S. House of Representatives, which was renamed National Statuary Hall. The State of Mississippi commissioned Henry Augustus Lukeman to sculpt statues of Jefferson Davis and James Z. George to be presented as Mississippi’s first contributions to the National Statuary Hall’s collection. Neither Davis nor George were born in Mississippi but both had moved to the state as children. Lukeman had previously contributed to the construction of Confederate memorial Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Lukeman’s statues of Davis and George were presented and unveiled on June 2, 1931 in a ceremony held in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. Adele Hayes-Davis, Jefferson Davis’s great-granddaughter, officially unveiled the statue of Jefferson Davis. The United States Marine Band performed music including “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Dixie.” Arthur Cook, a member of the office of the Architect of the Capitol who was in charge of the arrangements for the unveiling ceremony, claimed that the unveiling ceremony had the largest crowd ever gathered in Statuary Hall.

Journalist Edgar S. Wilson and U.S. Senator Pat Harrison each delivered commemorative addresses honoring Jefferson Davis. Wilson favorably compared Davis to Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States during the American Civil War between the United States of America and the Southern Confederacy. Wilson also read a March 10, 1884 speech that Davis gave to the Mississippi Legislature in its entirety, as well as a passage from Davis’s book, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. In both the 1884 speech and the passage from his book, Davis was unrepentant for Secession and promoted the Confederacy as a heroic and justified Lost Cause.

Senator Harrison in his speech stated that Jefferson Davis was “entitled” to his place in Statuary Hall, “fixed in the history of a great and reunited country” alongside “his comrades – [Robert E.] Lee[Wade] Hampton[Joseph] Wheeler[Alexander H] Stephens[Edmund] Kirby Smith and James Z. George” in addition to “[Henry] Clay[Daniel] Webster[Lewis] Cass and [John C.] Calhoun.” Harrison also addressed Mississippi’s delay in placing statues in Statuary Hall:

There never has been a day since [Mississippi] received the nation’s gracious invitation when the slightest doubt was entertained that her first choice among all the array of distinguished and illustrious characters to occupy a place here would be Jefferson Davis. No other name is so closely interwoven with [Mississippi’s] history and so securely riveted in the affection of her people. Without apology for the part she played in that tragic drama which divided the sections and tore the nation asunder [Mississippi] has realized the sensitive character of the national situation and believed that in the passing of years the scars of strife and the wounds of conflict would heal and the time would come when the tolerant spirit of the reunited people would concede to the people of both sections a conscientious discharge of duty as they saw it under the Constitution and the principles of our government




ORIGINAL 1931 Jefferson Davis Capitol Statue Unveiling Photo

Provenance: From the Estate of Eliza Calvert Hall-Obenchain Collection

Dimensions: 11.5 in x  9.25 in (in frame)

Condition: In good ORIGINAL CONDITION. One small tear on the middle left of the photo (circa 1 inch in length) but otherwise very good and in it’s ORIGINAL frame, under glass, with hand-written notations in pencil on rear of photo and backing.


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