In a note written on July 4, 1830, Eliza Parke Custis Law, Martha Washington's granddaughter, identified this trunk as the one Mrs. Washington used when travelling to visit her husband each winter throughout the Revolutionary War. The printed label of trunkmaker John Sunnocks, working in Philadelphia in the early 1790s, suggests the trunk may in fact have been used by the Washingtons during the presidency. Whether it was this trunk or a similar one that was used by Mrs. Washington during the Revolution, Eliza Law's recollections serve as a reminder of the personal sacrifices and many long journeys Martha Washington made to be at her husband's side throughout the Revolutionary War.


Rectangular leather trunk with domed lid; wooden case and lid covered in black leather on the exterior; a large paper label reading "Eliza Parke Custis/4th of July/ 1830" is affixed the center of the lid; lid is bound with ten iron plates around its sides and four half round plates at its corners; case of trunk is bound with a single iron plate at each side, ten iron plates along its base, and four half round plates at each lower corner; an iron bail handle and plate is mounted at the upper center of each side; just under the keyhole at the top center front of the trunk is a cast brass decorative escutcheon; on each side of the front and back panels of the trunk, two short, horizontal leather straps are affixed with brass tacks arranged in a decorative triangular pattern on either end; just below these, on the front panel of the trunk, oriented at a 45 degree angle on either side of keyhole, two short strips of leather with a buckle attached are affixed with brass tacks; a double line of brass tacks outlines the top of the lid, and the front of the trunk; a single line of brass tack outlines the lower edge of the trunk on all sides; a skirt of leather with a straight edge is attached to the base of the lid on all sides; the interior of the trunk is lined with a linen printed with a faded, brown, repeating floral design; the printed paper label and advertisement of "John Sunnocks,/ Trunk Maker from London" is pasted at the center of the interior of the lid; just below is pasted a lengthy handwritten note of Eliza Parke Custis Law on 4 July 1830; a small copper rectangular plate, stamped "W-368", is mounted on the back base of the proper left side; wooden runners are nailed along the length of the base of the trunk.


c. 1775-1793




Leather, wood, iron, brass, linen


Overall: 19 1/2 in. x 37 in. x 20 in. (49.53 cm x 93.98 cm x 50.8 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Charlotte Plater Rogers Smith Mustard, 1928


Printed paper label affixed to the center of the lid's interior: "John Sunnocks,/ Trunk Maker, from London/At his Shop, two Doors below Second, in Chestnut-Street,/ Philadelphia, makes and sells all Sorts of Trunks, viz./ Strong Iron and Brass bound Trunks, for traveling either by Sea or/ Land; Spanish Sumters, flat Ditto, common Hair and Leather Trunks,/ Packing Ditto, of all Sorts; Stone Leather Trunks, Portmanteaus, Saddle-/ Bags, Cloak Bags, Fire Buckets, Nests of Gilt Trunks and Caravans, in/ the neatest Manner; Horse Trunks, English Mails, Caravans, Bath-Boxes,/ etc. Ladies Hat Boxes, of all Sorts, made of Leather, Hair or Paper;/ Trunks for Plate, China, and Glass; strong Sea Chests, Liquor Cases, Pack-/ ing Cases and Boxes, etc. etc. Retail, and for Exportation./ N.B. Merchants, Captains of Vessels, and Storekeepers may be served on/ the shortest Notice, and most reasonable Terms."

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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