Piece of George Washington’s mahogany coffin

When George Washington’s remains were relocated to a new tomb in 1837, his family planned to make souvenirs from the mahogany covering of his lead-lined coffin. Its deteriorated condition made that idea unworkable, however, so they distributed small pieces of the wood. The note on this piece reads, “Washington’s Coffin presented to Mr. Saltonstall by a nephew, + namesake of Washington residing at Mount Vernon.”
This Mr. Saltonstall is believed to be Leverett Saltonstall, a Massachusetts congressman from 1838 to 1843. Saltonstall often visited Mount Vernon, where he likely received this coffin piece from John Augustine Washington, who was George Washington’s great-grandnephew and Mount Vernon’s last resident owner.
Purchase, 2011
Object Name
wood, coffin
date made
ca 1840
associated date
Washington, George
Saltonstall, William L.
James Green
Physical Description
mahogany (overall material)
paper (overall material)
brown (overall color)
light brown (overall color)
overall: 2 in x 2 in; 5.08 cm x 5.08 cm
place made
United States: Virginia, Mount Vernon
United States: Virginia
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Government, Politics, and Reform
Souvenir Nation
See more items in
Political History: Political History, General History Collection
Souvenir Nation
Souvenir Nation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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