A pink leather huswif (housewife) made by Mary Frederick Brown, age 12, of Hillsborough, Virginia, dated Jan 20, 1842. A huswif was a case containing sewing supplies; some rolled up and some folded. During the Civil War women often made them for loved ones serving in the armed forces so they could sew on buttons and mend their uniforms. Mary was born about 1830 and is probably the daughter of Asa and Jane Reaner Brown. Her huswif descended in the family of her brother Charles J. Brown.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sewing kit
date made
Brown, Mary Frederick
Place Made
United States: Virginia, Hillsborough
made at
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Victorian Needlework
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Victorian Needlework
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Elva McKinney

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