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Culture:English or American
Title:snuff box
Date Made:ca. 1771
Type:Personal Gear; Container
Materials:silver, cowry shell
Place Made:United Kingdom or Northeastern America
Measurements:overall: 1 1/4 in x 2 1/16 in x 2 3/4 in; 3.175 cm x 5.23875 cm x 6.985 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2114
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Egg-shaped silver and cowry shell snuff box with a hinged silver-edged cowry shell cover and shallow silver bottom marked "E.C" in a shaped panel on the inside bottom, and engraved, "THE GIFT OF THE HON. JONH BELCHER TO WM NESBITT ESQ OCT 9th 1771." Jonathan Belcher, Jr. (1710-1776), the first Chief Justice and a Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (1760-1764), was the son of Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757), Governor of Massachusetts from 1729/30 to 1741 and New Jersey from 1747-1757. William Nesbitt (c.1707-1784) was a lawyer and political figure in Nova Scotia who served as a member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1758 to 1783. Notes in the file indicate that Belcher shopped by mail using the Jeffries family of Boston as his agent. William Nesbitt later presented the box to Jonathan Belcher's son, Andrew Belcher (1761-1841), a wealthy merchant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who married Marianne Geyer (1773-1839), daughter of Frederick and Susannah Geyer of Boston, in 1792. According to a 1952 letter from John Marshall Phillips (Director, Yale University Art Gallery) to Henry Flynt (see data file), the box descended in the Belcher family to Hugh-Walter Belcher (1860-1950) of London, son of Rev. Brymer Belcher (b. 1819) and Mary Townsend of England, and 8th generation from this families' first Belcher in the colonies, Andrew Belcher. The box then went to his niece, Joan Mariette Belcher Manson (1891-1968) of Braintree, Essex, the daughter of Rev. Gilbert Belcher (1854-1941), who sold it to Henry Flynt in 1952. See HD 70.181, 70.182, HD 58.039, HD 58.040, and HD 58.041 for portraits of Marianna Geyer Belcher, Andrew Belcher, and Frederick William Geyer, and HD 1057 for a print of Governor Jonathan Belcher. This box was fomerly attributed to Ephraim Cobb (1708-1775), a silversmith of Plymouth, Massachusetts; however, Cobb's only known mark was "E Cobb" in a rectangle not "EC." This form was commonly made in the United Kingdom; it is more likely to be made there rather than in New England. However, neither Jackson or Grimwade list a similar mark.

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