In the late eighteenth-century, silk-lined, red leather cases such as this one were commonly used to display and preserve fine jewelry. This case was specifically crafted to contain a fashionable pair of high-arched shoe buckles. The buckles are believed to have been worn to a ball celebrating George Washington's inauguration as the first president of the United States in 1789.


Hinged oblong, leather covered wood case lined in paper covered with white silk taffeta; two part case has a flat lower compartment and arched top compartment; a semicircular pasteboard divider rises from the center of the lower compartment to divide it into two equal sections; interior of top compartment and the proper left side of the lower compartment are lined in paper and white silk taffeta; balls of old tissue paper have been placed in each side of the lower compartment along with two small paper tags with Z-twist strings, each inscribed in ink, "C. D. A. 59656 290628" on one side and "Misses Work." on the other side; paper card with ink blots, "#" sign, and the inscription in ink, "Worn at/ Geo Washington's/ Inauguration Ball" placed inside the upper compartment; two small copper alloy hooks are nailed to the front of the lower compartment, one on each end; portions of the proper right hook as well as the corresponding fastening loops on the upper compartment are missing.


1780 -1790



Wood, leather, silk, paper, pasteboard, copper alloy


Overall (open): 2 1/4 in. x 6 3/8 in. x 6 5/8 in. (5.72 cm x 16.21 cm x 16.84 cm)
Other (closed): 1 5/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. x 3 1/2 in. (4.14 cm x 16.21 cm x 8.89 cm)
Other (pasteboard divider): 1 5/16 in. (3.33 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Michael Tyson of Houston, Texas, 2000

Object Number


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.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Support Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save