Trinket Box

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Small, polychrome- and gilt-decorated box in the shape of a red leather-bound, hardcover book. Painted with a pineapple, two peaches and three blue daisies against a gilt oval on the front cover and imitation gilt-stamped decoration on the spine bands and backcover; gilt textblock or page edges. Front cover opens on two hinges and has an interior clasp to secure shut. Interior tinned. No marks.
This box was made by Esther Stevens Brazer (1898-1945), an author, collector, researcher, scholar, and teacher of Early American Decoration; she was also a direct descendent of tinsmith Zachariah Stevens of Stevens Plains (now part of Portland), ME.
Small book boxes such as this are unique to the tinshops of Stevens Plains (including the Stevens and Buckley Tinshops). Their purpose is not entirely clear. Some scholars suggest they might have been used as match holders as well as been given as gifts; many, but not all, have an initial on the back cover, probably that of the owner or recipient.
Currently not on view
date made
before 1945
place made
United States: Northeastern United States
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
tinned sheet iron (overall material)
paint (exterior decoration material)
gold (exterior decoration material)
overall: 1 in x 3 5/8 in x 3 in; 2.54 cm x 9.2075 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. John H. Murray
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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