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Workbaskets were essential sewing tools for an industrious mistress like Martha Washington. This twined oval work basket may be the "basket for Mrs. W." purchased by George Washington in 1795. Mount Vernon visitor accounts often commented on Mrs. Washington's enterprising nature; one noted that she was "incessantly knitting," even as she entertained guests. Family legend suggests that Mrs. Washington particularly liked to use this large and sturdy basket to hold her husband's socks for darning.


Twined oval open work willow basket with a single stationary wrapped handle. The base is formed from twenty two twined spokes that radiate from the center outwards. The basket body is made from successively placed vertical rods that are held together by two horizontal bands of willow rods woven around the center and bottom of the object. A wide band that forms a lip is interwoven at the top of the basket and anchors the vertical rods. The handle, made of three pieces of willow rod, is interwoven with the base, body, and top lip. It extends from one of the wide sides of the basket to the other. To add strength and comfort, the handle is further wrapped with willow.







Overall (H x W x D): 13 1/2 in. × 15 1/4 in. × 13 5/16 in. (34.29 cm × 38.74 cm × 33.81 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Cornelia Lee Atkins, 1922

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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