Lillian Green’s Porcelain Pin Box

Object Details

1 5/8 × 3 13/16 × 2 1/4 in. (4.2 × 9.7 × 5.7 cm)
Other (Body): 1 1/8 × 3 13/16 × 2 3/16 in. (2.9 × 9.7 × 5.5 cm)
Other (Lid): 11/16 × 3 13/16 × 2 1/4 in. (1.8 × 9.7 × 5.7 cm)
This porcelain pin box not only holds pins for sewing, but also the story of middle-class African Americans who commuted across the Anacostia River to jobs in downtown Washington, DC in the early 1900s. The First Lady of the United States, Edith Wilson, gave the pin box to her dressmaker, Lillian “Lillie” Green, who traveled to the White House from her home on Elvans Road in the city’s southeastern neighborhood of Anacostia. A sprig of flowers blooms in pastel colors on the center of the pin box’s textured lid. Flecks of gold decorate the edges of the lid and container underneath. A maker’s mark on the bottom of the pin box identifies it as a fairly common item, readily available for purchase in the District in the early 1900s, despite being made in Austria. After Green passed away at the age of thirty-five in 1917, the box remained a prized family possession for over fifty years. Green’s niece, Rosa Ware Jones, donated it to the Museum, where it was on display for the 1977 exhibition, “The Anacostia Story: 1608-1930.”
Accession Number
container with lid
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
Data Source
Anacostia Community Museum
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