Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Purse
Date 1825
Description Drawstring purse, possibly a tobacco pouch. Knitted from off-white cotton or silk, with horizontal bands of multicolored beaded decoration. The top band has beaded initials "MG" and date "1825", with birds and animals, possibly a dog and a stag. Five lower bands are similar to those seen on needlework samplers, with vines and flowers. Beads are knitted into the fabric in crossed knitting technique, with a plain knit background. There is a star pattern on the bottom of the bag. The beads are very small seed beads, except for those in the top band, which are slightly larger. Two drawstring cords pass through eyelet holes in the knit fabric; the cords are probably silk. The top edge of the bag has a row of beads worked into it. Tassel at bottom. Linen lining. Handwritten note found inside: "This tobacco pouch, was knit / by my grand-mother, for my / grand-father, in the year 1825, / as the figures in the bag in- / dicate. / Lena Burger". Since there is no fabric strip (ruffle) at the top, it is plausible that this is a man's tobacco pouch. Such pouches were often made by women as gifts for men. Measures 7 inches high x 5.125 inches wide.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Floral, Reticule)
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. George Allison
Ownership and History A note found inside this purse was written by Magdalena Burger, mother of the donor, Mary Burger Allison. According to the note, Magdalena's grandmother made this as a tobacco pouch for Magdalena's grandfather in 1825. The note does not specify whether these were her mother's or her father's parents. However, census data shows that both her mother and her father were born in Germany, suggesting that this pouch might have been made in Germany.
Earliest Date 1825
Latest Date 1825
Material Glass beads
Subjects Clothing & dress
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Associated People Burger, Magdalena (Baron)
Catalog Number C02.0972
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Efron family in memory of Dr. Meryl Efron, December 2015.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.