Martha Washington is believed to have embroidered this elegant pincushion during the winter encampment at Valley Forge as a present for the daughter of her host. Worked in silver wrapped thread and colorful silks, the small item would have made a large impact. Characteristic of Martha's industry and artistry, it is beautiful yet functional. However it shows no signs of use: as one descendant put it, the personal memento was treated with "reverential care".

See also needle case, W-2738/A.


Teardrop-shaped silk embroidered pin cushion. The proper face of the cushion is made from a white silk satin ground embroidered with polychrome silk thread and silver wrapped silk thread. Central to the decoration is a pink bird standing upon a flower and surrounded by shoots of flora that fill much of the ground. The obverse cover, made of plain woven blue silk, is completely devoid of embroidery. Underneath the outer layers is an unidentified textile - likely buckram - that separates the silk from the unidentified batting (possibly cotton or wool). The seam joining the face and observe is covered by silver braid tacked along its length. At each of the angled edges is a tuft of pink silk, seven of which remain in place.






Silk, broadcloth, buckram, silver-wrapped silk thread, possibly cotton or wool


Overall: 3 5/8 in. x 2 in. x 1 in. (9.22 cm x 5.08 cm x 2.54 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Lydia Spencer Moncure Robinson, 1978

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.
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