This back stool descended in the family of Martha Washington's granddaughter, Eliza Custis Law, who treasured it as "Martha Washington's sewing chair." Back stools, basically side chairs with upholstered backs and seats, provided a frame for the sumptuous display of expensive wool and silk fabrics and were typically placed in parlors, drawing rooms, halls, or bedchambers where they could be seen. Documentary evidence and the number of surviving examples suggest back stools were less often found in the households of the colonial elite than of their counterparts in England, and only a handful survive with a history of use in the Chesapeake. More





Mahogany (primary), oak (rear seat rail), unidentified softwood (corner braces)


Overall: 31 in. x 22 5/8 in. x 23 in. (78.74 cm x 57.47 cm x 58.42 cm)


Gift of Mrs. Van Santvoord Merle-Smith, Jr. and Mrs. Thomas Weaver, 1978

Object Number



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 See Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

Open today from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save