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Catalog Data

Physical Description:
bone (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 13 5/16 in x 1 3/4 in; 33.81375 cm x 4.445 cm
Object Name:
scrimshaw
scrimshaw busk bone
Date made:
mid-1800s
Collected:
1951-06-29
Fashion:
19th century
Description:
For much of the 19th century, ladies’ fashion required very small waists. The most common way to achieve this was to wear a tightly laced corset, which could be adjusted according to the specific dress it accompanied. Like this example, many corsets were handmade to fit an individual, although they were also available in shops.
One of the most intimate pieces of scrimshaw a whaleman could produce was a bone or baleen busk, or corset stiffener. These were carved and given to a crewman’s loved one, who then inserted it into a matching sleeve on her corset as a unique memento of her beloved’s feelings.
Each of these busks has a cityscape etched into one side. The other side of one has eight pictures, topped by a portrait of a beautiful young woman. The other has a plaintive love poem on the back.
Related event:
Expansion and Reform  Search this
Related Publication:
On the Water online exhibition
Related Web Publication:
http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater
Credit Line:
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Greenwood
ID Number:
TR.388604
Catalog number:
TR*388604
Accession number:
182022
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Maritime
Work
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Clothing & Accessories
Art
Natural Resources
Health & Medicine
On the Water exhibit
Transportation
Exhibition:
On the Water
Exhibition Location:
National Museum of American History
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ac-5e20-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1341776