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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Culture:English or American
Date Made:1700-1750
Type:Written Communication Tool
Place Made:United Kingdom or United States
Measurements:overall: 5 3/8 in x 1 3/8 in; 13.6525 cm x 3.4925 cm
Accession Number:  HD 93.031.1
Credit Line:Mr. and Mrs. Hugh B. Vanderbilt Fund for Curatorial Acquisitions

Inkhorn with a conical, slightly-bowed shape devised from the end of a cow's horn, made in two parts that thread together to form a tight seal. Used to hold ink for writing, inkhorns are rare survivals that occasionally appear in probate inventories (listings of goods taken upon the death of the head of the household). Two inkhorns are recorded in early Deerfield: Joseph Catlin who had married Hannah Sheldon (1683-1764), the daughter of Ensign John Sheldon (1658-c.1733) in 1701 and died in 1704 during the Deerfield Raid, owning “two Books & Inkhorn” valued at one shilling and six pence; and the inventory of John Smead (1673-1720) who died April 30, 1720 lists “To an Ink horn” for one shilling. Horns of oxen were used as ink containers because they were light, strong, inexpensive, and readily available. Travelers and soldiers often carried inkhorns for writing letters and orders while on the road. The lower portion of this inkhorn measures 1 3/8"; is slightly tapered; and threaded at top and bottom with a raised foot ring and hollow interior. The cover measures 4 1/2"; is long and tapered; and is ornamented with three incised lines 1 3/4" from the top and two incised lines within 1/2" of the bottom, all surmounted with a carved finial. This inkhorn was purchased from Reginald and Rachel French, who bought it somewhere in New England.

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