Thursday, November 19, 2009

a labor of love

So this is what had me swooning at Stenton ~ a pocket book made in 1744 by Hannah Logan for John Smith (who she would eventually marry in 1748). At the time John Smith proposed, Hannah was 28, which then was considered an unusual and rather advanced age to be married. In another unusual move, her parents allowed her complete freedom in her choice of a husband ~ something she exercised by refusing a considerably more wealthy suitor in favor of Smith. It was apparently quite a love match, as described by Smith: "the most perfect Harmony our Souls seem'd entirely knit and united together." He chronicled their relationship in his diary, which was published in 1904 and most effectively titled as follows:

Hannah Logan's courtship, a true narrative; the wooing of the daughter of James Logan, colonial governor of Pennsylvania, and divers other matters, as related in the diary of her lover, the Honorable John Smith, assemblyman of Pennsylvania and king's Councilor of New Jersey, 1736-1752 (edited by Albert Cook Myers)

You may read the full text here.

The pocket book itself is exquisitely stitched silk on linen, and inscribed: John Smith / Pocket Book / 1744 (detail photographs here).

10 comments:

Blue said...

Would that my love would stitch such a pocket book for me! Still, in other ways, he does - even after thirty years we seem "entirely knit and united together."

Anonymous said...

Indeed a labor of love. Just breathtaking.

And I loved this photo-"archaeological finds from the trash midden"!

little augury said...

So exquisite and I am completely taken by the devotion yes- but the palette used is so soft-something some 'men' would scoff at. Some things have certainly taken a turn for the worse. la

Christine said...

The condition and color of this fragile piece is phenomenal! And a lovely story as well...

Anne said...

How wonderfully romantic. The pocket book is exquisite, and I loved seeing the close-ups on flickr.

home before dark said...

I have been reading the Textile Blog for a bit and find what weaves you two together is this fascination—reverence—for the magic woven with needle and thread. I find it enchanting and a wonderful antidote to today's throw away society. "Souls knitted and united together" still resonates. Always good to know that love transcends time.

JBR said...

Another wonderful post - thanks, Janet. Such a gorgeous object!

Janet said...

Blue ~ lucky you, pocket book or not.

anon ~ I may need to explain those finds from the trash midden...

hbd ~ as a stitcher myself, I wonder at the hours it takes to create these things. And when you think about it, textiles are some of the most intimate possessions of our lives...the ones we keep closest to us.

Pigtown-Design said...

FYI... for detailed shots of the little pocketbook, click here. Scroll down a little bit.

Style Court said...

Oh wow. That blue-green!