Revolutionary War History Geek Gift Guide 2013


November 19, 2013
by Editors Also by this Author


Journal of the American Revolution is the leading source of knowledge about the American Revolution and Founding Era. We feature smart, groundbreaking research and well-written narratives from expert writers. Our work has been featured by the New York Times, TIME magazine, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, NPR, and more. Journal of the American Revolution also produces annual hardcover volumes, a branded book series, and the podcast, Dispatches

giftguide13With the 2013 holiday season upon us, it’s important that we take special care of those Revolutionary War history geeks in our lives. All too often they get nothing more than gift cards or Civil War books. This year, give the 18th century lover on your list a gift that says “I know the American Revolution took place a century before the Civil War, and I care.”

If you’re a colonial America or RevWar enthusiast looking to avoid gifts relating to the other centuries, simply share this link as your holiday wish list. We’ve done all the leg work for you. Books, artifacts, housewares, gadgets, food, drinks, clothing, toys and accessories — it’s covered.

Now, without further ado, here is Journal of the American Revolution‘s Official RevWar Geek Gift Guide 2013, or the Top 15 RevWar Gifts of 2013:


Acts of Congress 1789 [BUY]

Gilded and embossed hardcover with 112 pages presented in a rigid slip-case. A 48 page softcover companion booklet, written by Washington authority and historian Tim Allen, outlining the genesis of the book and its journey returning to Mount Vernon is included. One of the most important documents in our nation’s history and an essential addition to every American library, this volume, which includes the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights with Washington’s handwritten annotations, provides a fascinating perspective of his views on the governance of our nascent nation. $75. Buy.


Authentic 18th Century Newspapers [BUY]

What is now American history was once current news. Revolutionary War newspapers produced daily reports mentioning political leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, plus military leaders (both American & British) including Gates, Gage, Carleton, Howe, Clinton, John Paul Jones, Burgoyne, and the infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, along with other noteworthy names, such as Paul Revere and Thomas Paine. Skip ebay and head over to the America’s largest and most trusted name in historic newspapers — Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers. $18 and up. Buy. (You may want to consider pairing this gift with a copy of Reporting the Revolutionary War.)


American Heritage Historic Chocolate [BUY]

Artisan chocolate made from a 1750 recipe and made only from ingredients available in the 18th century. In the 1700’s the chocolate making process was time consuming, however, it quickly became a favorite drink among the colonists. As chocolate transitioned from a drink to a confection, the chocolate recipes were modified to highlight the flavor of a solid chocolate which melted in the mouth. American Heritage Chocolate has recaptured the sophisticated flavors of our forefathers, recreating the delicious, slightly spicy, decadently rich flavor and texture in their Chocolate Drink. $2-$20. Buy.


Fatal Stamp T-Shirt [BUY]

Own the Fatal Stamp t-shirt, featuring the same stamp that was printed on the Pennsylvania Journal as an act of protest to the Stamp Act of 1765.  This event is one of the major sparks that ignited the American Revolution. Inspired by the unmistakable bravado of our forefathers, each and every garment emphasizes the American virtues of simplicity and versatility – with understated elegance. The brand not only chronicles the historically rich epoch of the American Revolution, but rekindles the Spirit of ’76. $28. Buy.


Working Brass Sextant [BUY]

Before GPS, navigators used sextants to move ships safely across oceans. Knowing the exact time and the elevation of the sun, moon, or North Star, a navigator could calculate his latitude position. Pinpoint your place in the world with this working sextant, crafted in brass and nestled in a wooden box. Sextant about 5″ long; box 5″w x 3″h x 6″d. $60. Buy.


The Constitution: I Read It for the Articles T-Shirt [BUY]

The Founding Fathers decided at the last minute not to include pictures in the Constitution because John Adams could only draw stick figures and James Madison could draw really good pictures of trees, but that was it. So, they just devoted all their time to packing it with really good articles. And oh what great articles they are, too. There’s something for everyone – members of the press, musket lovers, people that are endlessly fascinated by the debate over eminent domain. Great writing like this truly stands the test of time. $25. Buy.


Wall Art or Photo Print of the British Landing at Kip’s Bay, New York Island, 15 September 1776 [BUY]

This drawing was long misidentified as the uncontested British occupation of Rhode Island, 9 December, 1776, and was shown as such in the former National Maritime Museum American War gallery. Based on the vigorous shore bombardment shown, the topography, the number of ships involved and comparison with eyewitness accounts, the scene was in 2008 convincingly reidentified by Don Hagist of Rhode Island as part of the slightly earlier British capture of New York. It shows amphibious forces about to make an opposed landing against rebel entrenchments at Kip’s Bay, on the eastern side of New York Island (Manhattan), on 15 September 1776. $15 and up. Buy.



Journal of the American Revolution, Collector’s Hardcover Edition [BUY]

Sixty essays by twenty historians between two hard covers with gorgeous full-color design throughout. In a remarkably presented collection of remastered articles and new essays, this collectors print edition of the popular webzine, Journal of the American Revolution, is an important reference book uncovering new sources and answering several lingering questions about the most important era in American history: What was the true start of the American Revolution? Who came up with “no taxation without representation”? What role did dogs play in the war? How did the Sons of Liberty influence the rebellion? How did news about America s independence go viral in 1776? How did Washington s army actually cross the Delaware River? At what moment did Washington become a politician as well as a general? How did Washington’s mastery of intelligence lead to one of the most daring attacks of the war? What is the treatment for a scalped head or arrow wound? Was the most hated Loyalist in America really a Patriot spy? And what about those British soldiers? $20. Buy.


The Dreamer Graphic Novel [BUY]

Beatrice “Bea” Whaley begins having vivid dreams about a brave and handsome soldier named Alan Warren–a member of an elite group known as Knowlton’s Rangers that served during the Revolutionary War. Prone to keeping her head in the clouds, Bea welcomes her nightly adventures in 1776; filled with danger and romance they give her much to muse about the next day. But it is not long before Beatrice questions whether her dreams are simply dreams or something more. Each night they pick up exactly where the last one ended. And the senses–the smell of musket shots and cannons, the screams of soldiers in agony, and that kiss–are all far more real than any dream she can remember. $15. Buy.


The George Washington Standard Pin [BUY]

With a $35 (or more) donation to the forthcoming Museum of the American Revolution, you will receive a lapel pin that replicates one of the greatest treasures in its collection — George Washington’s Standard. The pin is made with silver metal and covered by blue enamel with white enamel stars and measures .75″ by .5″. Donations of $125 (or more) receive a 11″ x 17.75″ print of “The March to Valley Forge” by William Trego. Since this is not a retailer, you may want to contact the museum first to confirm that you will receive the item in time. Contact the Museum of the American Revolution at 877-740-1776 (ext  101) or in**@am*********.org. Even if the pin doesn’t arrive in time for the holidays, you can make a creative card telling the recipient that a donation was made in his/her name and that the pin will be arriving shortly. $35 and up. Buy.


George Washington Sword Letter Opener [BUY]

This superbly crafted letter opener was adapted from a handsome English small sword owned by George Washington.  Its elegant silver-mounted filigree hilt and white leather scabbard were well suited to ceremonial occasions.  Measuring 9″, this letter opener has a sterling silver finish and comes in a gift box lined with blue velvet fabric. $40. Buy.


No Stamp Act Teapot [BUY]

For colonists chafing under imperial rule, the stamp act was the last straw. Some expressed their dissatisfaction through their tea services. Simply designed body with deep red lettering and garlands. Spout and handle in the shape of vines reflect the 18th-century interest in nature. Made in Leeds, England, by Hartley Greens & Co., famous since 1770 for exquisite Creamware. 5H x 9″ dia.; holds 32 oz. $119. Buy.


Boston Harbour Tea [BUY]

On March 7, 1774, at a second Boston Tea Party, 16 chests of fine tea from tea merchants, Davison Newman & Co. Ltd. of London, were also dumped in the harbor in defiance of British policies. Still in operation today, Britain’s oldest tea merchant has developed this famous tea blend and offers it exclusively through the Mark T. Wendell Tea Company. With several packaging sizes and styles available, this small piece of our country’s history not only makes a great Boston-themed gift idea, but a truly memorable cup of tea. $3-$27. Buy.


Shut the Box Game [BUY]

Add some old-world charm—and fun—to your next gathering. A traditional game of counting, addition, and probability, Shut-the-Box dates back to the 18th century, when this game was enjoyed by Norman fishermen after a long day at sea. Roll the dice and lay down any numerical combination of tiles that match your roll. Just keep on rolling until you can no longer match your roll on the remaining tiles. The lowest score wins the game. If you lay down all the tiles, then you’ve “shut the box.” This improved wood version with a felt playing surface has 12 numbers, rather than the typical 9 numbers, bringing more numerical combinations into play. Game can be played alone or with any number of players. With this deluxe version with lid, you can display the game on the coffee table or shelf when not in use. Perfect for family get-togethers or parties. $34. Buy.



Quill Pen and Ink Powder [BUY]

A goose feather quill pen ($2.95) and powdered ink ($3.50, makes 3 fluid oz.) were the basic writing instruments in the 18th century. Add an inkwell for $30. Buy.

Do you have a RevWar-related gift that you’d like to recommend to our readers? Share it in the comments below.


  • Great choices. I’m going to get a few for my Civil War and WWII buff friends who are always waxing inelegantly on their subject matter. I’d go with the Washington lapel pin — good marketing tool as they currently wear flag pins, it’s a conversation piece should anyone ask what it represents and it markets and promotes the Museum. A colonial trifecta!

  • That No Stamp Act Tea Pot is on my Christmas List ever year. I wonder why no one has ever gotten it for me…?

    Thanks for this wonderful list, and thank you so much for including The Dreamer on it!

  • Come stay with us in a replica of George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon, in a similar setting but on the west coast! Enjoy our signature blends of George Washington Coffee and Martha’s Own soaps and lotions.

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