In equipping himself as the Continental Army's commander in chief, George Washington selected objects that bespoke professionalism and gentility, even down to his luggage. This black leather-covered trunk, studded with costly brass-headed tacks, was as attractive as it was durable. The serial number engraved on its brass tag helped Washington organize his supplies. In 1780, he instructed for this trunk, "No. 4," to be filled with blankets for the forthcoming winter. When it entered Mount Vernon's collection over 150 years later, it contained articles of George and Martha's clothing as well as a pair of George Washington's dentures (see W-1520).

Description

Rectangular leather trunk with flat lid; wooden case and lid covered in black leather on the exterior; bound with two iron plates on both sides of the front panel, two iron plates on each side of the lid, and two iron plates along the base of the front, the back, and the front of the lid; an oval brass plate engraved "Genl Washington/ No. 4" is nailed to the center of the lid; an iron bail handle and heart-shaped plate is mounted on each side; at the top center of the front panel is mounted a lock with a brass keyhole cover; an iron latch is nailed to the front panel of the lid; on the front, two wide strips of leather are inserted underneath the principal covering of the case on either side of the center and are secured by brass tacks arranged in a triangular pattern at each end; on the back, two strips of leather with pointed ends are tacked on top of the leather covering of the case, on either side of the center, with a single row of brass tacks outlining the triangular end of each; two long leather straps encircle the trunk from the back base to the front; the accompanying straps with buckles are missing; a continuous line of brass tacks outlines the front panel of the case, the front and side edges of the top of the lid, the front corners of the lid, and the sides of the back panel of the trunk; a skirt of leather with a straight edge, secured by a continuous line of brass tacks, runs along the base of the lid on the front and sides; the interior of the trunk lid is lined with an unbleached linen; two twill weave linen straps with drawn thread borders are tacked to the sides and lid to support the lid when it is open; the printed paper label and advertisement of "John Lutz / High Street / Georgetown" is pasted at the center of the interior of the lid; wooden runners are nailed along the length of the base of the trunk.

Date

c. 1775-1781


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Leather, wood, iron, brass


Dimensions

Overall (H x W x D): 12 1/4 in. x 28 1/4 in. x 13 1/4 in. (31.12 cm x 71.76 cm x 33.66 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1949


Marks

Engraved on an oval brass plate on the center top of the lid: "Genl Washington/ No. 4".


Object Number

W-1513


Colors (Beta)


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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