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Opportunity Shop DC

Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Pewter Spirit Cup, ca. 1935-41

Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Pewter Spirit Cup, ca. 1935-41

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Pewter spirit cup from Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill forge, ca. 1935-41.

Val-Kill was Eleanor Roosevelt's private residence in Hyde Park, New York. Between 1927 and 1938, it was also home to Val-Kill Industries, a business partnership which produced furniture, metal wares, textiles, and other handcrafted articles in the American colonial tradition. The forge opened in 1935 and continued operating after the rest of the business folded in 1938, but it, too, was ultimately forced to close when the outbreak of war and attendant rationing of strategic metals made it difficult to source materials. Pewter wares from Val-Kill appear infrequently on the secondary market, and are usually associated with remarkable provenance, since these items were produced in small numbers and were often presented as gifts from the Roosevelt family.

In 1938, Eleanor Roosevelt paid a visit to a convalescent home in Rockville operated by the Christ Child Society, which runs the Opportunity Shop. In her newspaper column for May 20th, 1938, she wrote:

“[Merrick] began by making one child happy at Christmas time, and now, in this city, there is a settlement house which takes care of thousands of children. There is a convalescent home where 32 children are taken the year round and restored to health. The work of the Society has become national.”

 

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