Museum of Texas Tech University, History Division
To collect, preserve, document, and interpret the material culture of Lubbock and the South Plains, and its adjacent West Texas regions.

To collect, preserve, document, and interpret the material culture of Lubbock and the South Plains, and its adjacent West Texas regions.

 
 
 
 
Silver teapotSilver teapot: This teapot has wood inserts in the handle that served as insulation, keeping the handle from being too hot.
CreamerCreamer
 
Slop bowlSlop bowl: Drinkers poured undrunk, cold tea into the slop bowl, then refilled their cups with fresh, hot tea.
Sugar BowlSugar bowl
 
Monogram Monogram
Robert Finn's signatureRobert Finn signature
 
Tweed Silver Tea Service

Tweed Silver Tea Service

This tea set was owned by William Marcy "Boss" Tweed (1823-1878), from the 1850s until his death in 1878. Tweed was the central figure in the 1860s New York City Tammany Hall corruption scandals. He and his minions stole millions from city coffers through crooked business deals and contractor kickbacks.

Tweed was arrested and convicted of lesser charges in 1871 and served one year in jail. Meanwhile, the State of New York brought suit against him and he left the country. He was apprehended in Europe and brought back to jail in 1878, but he died before the civil case could go to trial.

The tea set includes four pieces: a teapot, slop bowl, creamer, and sugar bowl all made by New York silversmith Edward Rockwell around 1825. Rockwell was active in the New York silver trade from 1803 through 1847, and worked out of his shop at 4 Park Place. From 1815 onwards, a Samuel Rockwell is listed on records with Edward and is presumed to be his brother.

The set is engraved with the name "Robert Finn, New York," on the underside of each piece, and all are monogrammed with what is believed to be the letters "RJF." Finn may have been an early owner of the set. There are no visible markings indicating Tweed's ownership. Edward Rockwell silver is prominent in several major collections of American silver, most notably the Winterthur Collection in Delaware, and the Yale University Art Gallery.