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Vallejo’s Silver a Gift Exchange in a Contested Borderland
February 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Three silver spoons that once belonged to Mariano Vallejo, hint at the importance of gift exchange in a contested borderland. General Vallejo was the commandant of Mexico’s “Northern Frontier” and the founder of the town of Sonoma. The spoons were donated to California State Parks by one of his descendants.
The spoons bear identical hallmarks indicating when and where they were made (Fig. 2). All three were made in 1834, by a silversmith working in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Because Vallejo enjoyed a unique and historically important relationship with the Russian enclave at Fort Ross, the existence of Russian items among his household possessions is intriguing and hints at the importance of cross-border trade and gift exchange in Mexican California.