Skip to main content

As a public health precaution, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will temporarily close to the public starting Saturday, March 14 until further notice. Please continue to check back frequently at or for updates. In the meantime, please explore our website, resource materials and online exhibitions. 

Jefferson and Varina Howell Davis

Jefferson and Varina Howell Davis
Usage Conditions Apply
Currier & Ives Lithography Company, active 1857 - 1907
Jefferson Davis, 3 Jun 1808 - 6 Dec 1889
Varina Howell Davis, 7 May 1826 - 16 Oct 1906
Lithograph on paper
Sheet: 34.5 x 46.1 cm (13 9/16 x 18 1/8")
Mat: 40.6 × 55.9 cm (16 × 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
Exhibition Label
This Currier & Ives cartoon makes light of the capture of President Jefferson Davis by Union cavalry near Irwinsville, Georgia, on May 10, 1865. The major Confederate armies had surrendered weeks before, but Davis still held hopes of escaping capture and fleeing the country with his wife and children. His depiction in petticoats alludes to the purported disguise he was wearing when apprehended. Mrs. Davis, however, explained that she had thrown a waterproof cloak or wrapper over the shoulders of her ailing husband to counter the dew and early morning chill.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Not determined