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   Josephine Clock


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The History of the Josephine Clock 

When Napoleon banished Josephine, she retired to various estates, but preferred La Maimison. The clock was taken to La Maimison. Upon Josephine's death in 1814, her son and daughter took possession of it. The Beauharnais family used it later as ransom for the attempted release of Napoleon from the isle of Helena. The attempt failed, of course, as history records. At the death of Napoleon, the clock disappeared.

However, Joseph, the older brother of Napoleon came to Philadelphia in 1815, bringing with him a number of possessions, many of which are still found in the city. He also leased a number of houses in the local area, only one of which is still standing.

It is thought that Joseph brought this clock with him when he came to Philadelphia. How the clock passed form the Beauharnais family (Josephine's) to Joseph Bonaparte would make a very interesting story, as there was deep animosity between Josephine and Joseph almost from the moment they first met. Her children were equally despised by him.

In 1936, the clock surfaced in the Philadelphia area and was donated to the Franklin Institute by Mrs. S. Warren Ingersoll. In 1950, the Empress Josephine clock received a massive renovation at the hands of an expert named Orville R. Hagans in Denver, Colorado, and was on display at the Denver Clock Mannor for five years before returning home to Philadelphia. It is now on display at the Franklin Institute.


The Denver Post, "Resurrection of the Empress," George Mace Martin, dated around 1952. [Exact date obscured.]

The Philadelphia Daily News, "Napoleon was not Here," dated October 23, 1992.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, "A marker will identify the residence of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother," dated January 9, 2000.

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Carla Schutte, Mike Lipinski, Susan Silverman
Gail Watson, Tammy Payton
March 2000