Ipswich Bobbin Lace Pillow With Bobbins, Pattern, and Lace From Ipswich, Massachusetts

Ipswich Bobbin Lace Pillow With Bobbins, Pattern, and Lace From Ipswich, Massachusetts

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Mrs. Elizabeth Lord Lakeman, who was born 1767 in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and died 1862 in Hallowell, Maine used this pillow, pattern and bobbins to make bobbin lace most of her life. Mrs. Lakeman most likely made Ipswich lace in the late 1780's and 1790's during the peak of the Ipswich lace industry. The pillow is stuffed with sea-grass or straw and the parchment pattern has holes pricked for the lace. The bobbins are whittled from bamboo, other reeds, or wood. The current pattern and lace on the pillow are from around 1860.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pillow, lace
lace pillow, lace
lace pillow, lace, pattern
date made
lacemaker using pillow
Lakeman, Elizabeth Lord
place made
United States: Maine, Hallowell
United States: Massachusetts, Ipswich
origin of objects
United States: Massachusetts, Ipswich
Physical Description
parchment (pattern material)
cotton (lace material)
metal (pins material)
cotton (cover of pillow material)
straw (stuffing material)
linen (inside cover of pillow material)
bobbin lace (lace production method/technique)
wood and reeds (bobbins material)
overall, circumference: 29 1/2 in x 8 in; 74.93 cm x 20.32 cm
bobbins: 4 3/4 in x 7/8 in; 12.065 cm x 2.2225 cm
overall, pattern: 31 in x 1 3/8 in; 78.74 cm x 3.4925 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Walter DuBois Brookings, 1948
Lace Making
Bobbin Lace
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Industry & Manufacturing
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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In the late eighteenth century, Ipswich had 600 women and girls producing more than 40,000 yards of lace annually. In the 1820's Ipswich industrialists opened a factory and imported machines from England to mechanize and speed up the operation, which destroyed the hand-made lace industry. Read more about Ipswich pillow lace at https://historicipswich.org/2015/07/20/pillow-lace/.
This photo is very important to me as part of my ongoing research into Bucks Point lace which is a very close relative of this lace. I have heard that BP was sometimes made without pinning the ground and this is the first evidence I have seen that prickings were made without the ground pricked. Thank you for making this available, Lace is sadly neglected by so many museums, surprising since it was such a highly valued commodity.
Thank you for posting this important piece of American lacemaking history. It's very informative and we hope to see more detailed images of similar things.

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