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Object Timeline

1957

  • We acquired this object.

2013

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Woman's Pocket (USA), 18th century

This is a Woman's pocket. It is dated 18th century and we acquired it in 1957. Its medium is linen warp, cotton weft, wool embroidery and its technique is embroidered on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Before the mid-19th century, pockets were not sewn into women’s clothing, but were a accessory. Pockets, usually worn in pairs, were tied around the waist between a woman’s under-petticoat and her petticoat or skirt. Openings in the side seams of these voluminous skirts provided a discreet way for her to access their contents. Pockets were not intended to be seen while worn, and many were plain, although pockets with decorative embroidery were given as gifts. They were quite generous in size by today’s standards, and were used to hold a variety of personal items which might include money, a handkerchief, spectacles, sewing tools, a comb or small mirror, personal letters, and a snuff or bonbon box.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Pick a pocket.

This object was donated by Mrs. Roxa Wright. It is credited Gift of Roxa Wright.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 40 x 35 cm (15 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Woman's Pocket (USA), 18th century; linen warp, cotton weft, wool embroidery; H x W: 40 x 35 cm (15 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.); Gift of Roxa Wright; 1957-105-1

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18411387/ |title=Woman's Pocket (USA), 18th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 April 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>