In Their Words

Madeline Y. Wynne on Old Hadley Chests

Read Aloud

When the bride of early New England days packed her homespun wool or linen, her sheets with the initials of her maiden name deftly done in cross-stitch in the corner, or her bedspreads woven in plaids of blue and white or in the more sober brown for common use, and her finer articles for her own personal wear--when she packed these things, it was not in a trunk that they were laid, but in a bridal chest.
Each piece of hand-woven stuff had come from her own wheel, and through her own hands had passed the strands of flax or of wool; not the less evenly twisted where the threads because of her maiden dreamings while at work. Maids in those days had need to be practical: they were dainty as well; and in the sewing of garments this rule was often enforced, 'Take up two threads and skip four.'

Madeline Yale Wynne, "Brides and Bridal-Chests," The House Beautiful, Sept. 1899, Vol. VI, no. 4, p. 159.

Madeline Yale Wynne perpetuates the 'myth of homespun' in this colonial revival statement about the role of the bridal chest in the domestic world of the 18th century. In actuality, the colonies had imported most of their textiles from its mother country, Britain.