The JHS library exhibit for November displays a collection of boxes designed for many different uses.

A tiny round ceramic snuff box used in the 19th century contained powdered tobacco.  A pinch sniffed from the back of the hand would give an instant nicotine rush.  A trinket box designed to look like a book held visiting cards. In the days before the telephone, a visitor would leave a card with their name if no one was home or enclose the card with an invitation.  The long hair and elaborate hairdos of the period required hairpin boxes and hair receivers, often part of a ceramic dresser set.

stamp box
Above: Silver stamp box engraved with the initials of its owner, Dr. William Lincoln Bates.
More mundane boxes included in the exhibit are a pill box from Hunt’s Drug Store and a monogramed silver stamp box that belonged to Dr. William Lincoln Bates.

The exhibit will remain on display in the Jamestown Philomenian Library foyer until the beginning of December.

hair pin
snuff box
Left: Hairpin box.  In the day of long hair and elaborate hair styles, many hairpins were needed to keep the coiffures in place. Right: Snuff box.  Snuff is ground or pulverized tobacco leaves and is inhaled, delivering a swift hit of nicotine.  Traditionally, it is sniffed or inhaled lightly after a pinch is either placed onto the back surface of the hand or held pinched between thumb and index finger
Visit the library to see the entire exhibit and please consider donating your Jamestown memorabilia to Jamestown Historical Society, contact Sue Maden at