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Ornate Bridal Trunk needs I.D. - Purportedly owned by Sarah Bernhardt; needs provenance.

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (1 item)

    Description of the Trunk:

    What appears to be an ornate bridal-style trunk perhaps made by Martin Maier Trunk Company in Detroit Michigan. I'm curious if this is correct. Sources?

    Description of Trunk Contents:

    • [1] Unopened, "Veuve Clicquot Dry Non Vintage" champagne bottle distributed by Schmidt and Peters agent in New York from 1881-1916

    • [1] Ticket stub from "Hueck's Opera House", formerly located in Cincinnatti, OH. A matinee perhaps a Sarah Bernhardt show.

    • [2] Sarah Bernhardt postcards.

    • [1] A "nest" of curly dark-brown hair clippings.

    • 3 Shawls

    • Misc. Seamstress items including bells, pearl buttons, black polygonal beads, and spools of thread.

    • [2] S&H Green Stamps

    • [2] Costume stockings, one Red, one Creme colored.


    Stitching the clues together:

    Could this trunk have belong to someone famous like Sarah Bernhardt? (Also known as the most famous woman the world has ever known) The previous owner seemed to think so. Though, I am having difficulty finding concrete provenance of that claim. This trail seems warm, but not exactly hot.

    I'm considering the following profiles as to who might have owned this in order of probability.
    A woman.
    A bride.
    A seamstress.
    An actress.
    A fan of Sarah Bernhardt's
    Sarah Bernhardt's Kin - Mother, Son
    Sarah Bernhardt

    First of all, can anyone confirm the manufacturer?
    What is the significance of the star shaped lock?
    Why would someone collect hair? Their own hair?
    Did Sarah Bernhardt own a bridal trunk?
    Did give SB receive any trunks as gifts?
    Where can I find a tour list for Hueck's Opera house from 1890 - 1910
    A tour list with dates and venues for Sarah Bernhardt's American tour.

    Any other questions are welcome. Let's do some sleuthing!

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 9 years ago
      You lucky (fill in)! beautiful trunk even without the S.B. connection. Waiting to hear what our arm-chair experts come up with. S&H green stamps?
    2. trunkman trunkman, 9 years ago
      I can offer only a few insights as an amateur trunk enthusiast -- certainly this trunk is a high end expensive trunk for it's time. I have yet to see such a high dome trunk of this form or style so to me it is rare. I do not see anything on it that would suggest that it was made by Martin Maier. Usually he would put his own hardware on a high end trunk like this with "M" signature motifs. Failing that there would most probably be his patented hinges on the trunk but there is no picture of the hinge so its hard to say. Also all of the beautiful hardware including the lovely "star" motif lock plate are forms and styles I have seen on some other trunks -- which means they were most probably purchased from a supplier and not produced by the maker of the trunk -- which was typical of the day. They are all "high end" parts and would have been the most expensive to purchase. Only a very few trunk makers had their own parts produced -- often monogramed in some way. As far as a "Bridal Trunk" description is concerned, although this trunk may have been purchased for this intention there is no specific trunk style made for this purpose as far as I am aware of. It's form is a dome top trunk -- about the 1880's. It is a gorgeous trunk and it may have been specifically ordered but without a label I am afraid the manufacturer may remain a mystery. There are a few experts on this forum that have a deeper knowledge base than I -- I hope they can weigh in. Good luck with your search and welcome to C.W.!
    3. trunkingforfun, 9 years ago
      I think this is a most beautiful trunk owned or gifted by a wealthy person. I know nothing about the actress but am sure there are experts on her life and work somewhere. Hair was collected by the ladies to add to their style for loft and or fullness. There were special bowls with lids made to hold this hair called hair receivers, sometimes china and ornate. Thanks for the post. and best wishes for detective success.
    4. myoldkyhome myoldkyhome, 9 years ago
      Beautiful trunk! I would love to see photos of the inside of the trunk. I also have never seen one like it. There is no doubt that it is a high end trunk. I assume the previous owner must have had it for a long time for all of the items to still be inside? I hope that you find the answers that you are looking for.
    5. fortapache fortapache, 9 years ago
      I like it how it is now. It is only in original condition one time.

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