COLLECTION: Costume Accessories

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Women's Knit Linen Stockings

ca. 1782
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
OL each 20"; Foot length 10 ¼"
Linen, knitted; silk marking stitches
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2009-43,4A&B
Stockings (A & B) hand knitted of natural-color linen with clocks at ankles created by knitted triangular shaping. Faint cross-stitch marking on stocking #A reads SW, possibly for Sarah (Sally) Wister. Paper tag reads "Pair of stockings knit by Catherine (Jansen) Wister in 1782 Great, great, great grandmother of Caroline and Casper Wister Miller".
Label:According to a paper document that came with the stockings, they were hand knitted by Catherine Jansen Wistar (1703–1786), probably for her daughter Sarah Wistar, whose initials SW are cross-stitched on the stockings. The Wistars were Quakers from Philadelphia. Women continued hand-knitting stockings, even though professionally frame-knitted stockings were also being produced. If the family tradition is correct, these stockings were knitted about the time the Revolutionary War was ending when imported goods were still scarce.
Provenance:Made by Catherine Jansen Wistar (1703-1786), probably for her daughter Sarah Wistar