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Item   Title MB Now at Next bid Bids New bid Max bid  
2   Abigail Adams’s Sewing Kit and Lace  $1000 $1000 $1100 1 You must login to place a bid.

#2 - Abigail Adams’s Sewing Kit and Lace

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Description Update

Accompanying provenance confirms that the sewing kit belonged to Abigail Adams, however, the fact that she herself sewed the flowers on the kit is not contained in the letter of provenance as previously implied in our description

Remarkable and important collection of Abigail Adams’ sewing sundries, including material worn in her iconic Gilbert Stuart portrait

Remarkable collection consisting of Abigail Adams’s personally-owned and -used sewing needle case and two swatches of the dress Adams is seen wearing in her famous portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Her sewing kit needle case is an off-white silk with beautifully embroidered floral designs on both sides, opening to reveal slots for her sewing materials and implements, with two inner pocket flaps nicely embroidered with flower and bird designs. Also included are two generous dress fabric swatches, each measuring 3 x 8, and two different strands of delicate lace trim identifiable in the Gilbert Stuart portrait of the first lady now held by the National Gallery of Art. Includes a July 1876 handwritten letter of provenance from First Lady Abigail Adams’s own granddaughter, Elizabeth Coombs Adams, signed “E. C. A.,” in full: “A piece of Reps silk dress worn by Abigail Adams in London, wife of John Adams, Minister to the Court of St. James, Coming home to Quincy in 1787—& bought the home stead which has had five generations living in it. This dress & long train left to my mother in Abigail’s will. The Reps silk with the pink dots and garnet sattin dress that she is painted in Stuart’s portrait & now belongs to the Charles F. Adams’ & I have the old lace scarf back from the old State House in Philadelphia where we sent things for the Centennial.” The sewing kit is accompanied by a contemporary note in another hand, reading: “Needle case belonging to Abigail Adams.”

Material related to Abigail Adams is extremely rare—more so than Martha Washington—particularly with the superior provenance provided in the form of a 19th-century note by her granddaughter. Elizabeth Coombs Adams was related to President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams via her father, Thomas Boylston Adams, who was their son and the brother of John Quincy Adams. Like much of the family, Thomas Boylston struggled with alcoholism, and Elizabeth Coombs Adams moved to the family mansion in Quincy and lived there with her uncle and aunt, John Quincy and Louisa Adams, for a period of time. A marvelous grouping of important material from one of the nation’s preeminent 'Founding Mothers.' A truly epochal offering worthy of the most advanced collector or institution.

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