Ellsworth Fabric Sample Notebook

Henry Leavitt Ellsworth brought this notebook of sample fabrics from an East Coast manufacturer to Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, during his time as part of the Stokes Commission from 1832 until 1834. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced southeastern tribes to the Indian Territory in the West, and Fort Gibson became the home of the commission, whose goal was to pacify the indigenous tribes and create treaties between new tribes during their forced migration.
Ellsworth explained the books contents on the first page, “The annexed samples were cut from large samples and promised at the manufacturers in the East. These prices are fixed by the manufacturers themselves. A sutler at this post Wm. West has kindly given the prices as sold at this garrison. In the interior they are much higher.” The book was believed to have been assembled to support a bill in front of Congress regulating trade with the Indians. As outlined in the book, cloth sold to the Indians was sold at anywhere between a 48% and 180% markup—one of many unfair trade practices between the settlers and Native Americans. The Ellsworth report used this as an example of the need for regulation to prevent traders from taking advantage of the Native Americans with the prospect of a booming population due to forced migration. The book itself contains fifty samples of eleven different fabric types.
Object Name
sample book, fabric
sample book,
textile sample book
date made
associated dates
1990 01 19 / 1990 01 19
Physical Description
leather (cover material)
paper (book material)
cotton (49 swatches material)
cotton/wool (one swatch material)
average spatial: 6 in x 4 in; 15.24 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
American Enterprise
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Sewer, Andy; Allison, David; Liebhold, Peter; Davis, Nancy; Franz, Kathleen G.. American Enterprise: A History of Business in America
Additional Media

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