The embroidered design on this linen towel reserves it for kitchen décor rather than for drying dishes. Stitched in cotton thread on a white towel is a woman wearing a blue-and-white striped apron over a yellow dress. She holds fabric flecked with red starbursts unfurling from a gray dress form. The pins in her mouth and on the floor beside a pin box and black scissors also point to sewing, Thursday’s housekeeping task. Behind the dark-haired woman, green leaves grace tree boughs outside an open window trimmed with red gingham curtains. A framed bouquet of blue flowers hangs on the wall. The towel is part of a days-of-the-week set made from a needlecraft kit, a popular creative endeavor in the 1940s, when smaller, single-family homes and new appliances eased the burden of housework for middle-class women. Mary Thompson Ford (1861-1960) was both college-educated and a proud homemaker in Jersey City, NJ. Her daughter Blanche Ford Hart (1897-1992) likely embroidered these towels for use in their family kitchen. An apron and a tablecloth complete the days-of-the-week collection (2008.0002.0006a-g).
Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Theresa Allen