Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Intriguing Find

1877 Memorial Pincushion (obverse and reverse)
Hartsville, Trousdale Co.?
5 3/4"V X 5"W x 1"D © TSS 118

Neither Janet nor I have ever seen a memorial pincushion. The example above was found in the attic of an old home in Hartsville, Trousdale Co., that had been inhabited by the same family for several generations. The stitched inscription on the front reads:

JULY. 8th

The back features a bird motif.

The sides once held pins that spelled out words or perhaps the alphabet, as can be seen in the this view:

Pincushions like this were once used to commemorate the birth of a child. With the greeting "Welcome, Little Stranger" or similar aphorism one one side and a design on the other, the cushions were sometimes presented as christening gifts. The pins represented the pangs of childbirth.

Was this pinkeep originally intended to celebrate the birth of Lizzie and then adapted to memorialize her death in infancy?

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