Gloves knit from yarn spun from silk and raccoon fur, once owned by Sister Jennie M. Wells
New York, Mount Lebanon
Silk and raccoon fur knit gloves. Approximately 2 1/4" ribbed edge at wrist. Tan or khaki color. Possibly not a pair as [one is a] darker color; presumably palm has thumb on both sides.
Small handcrafted items, made by Shaker sisters and sold in Shaker community gift shops and on peddling trips to New England resorts, provided essential income for Shaker families as profit from agriculture, tanning, garden seeds, and brooms dwindled toward the end of the nineteenth century. "Coon fur and silk" gloves are typical of the items marketed to the world during this period.
Gloves, along with mittens and wristlets, were hand knit of yarn spun from silk and raccoon fur. The production of the yarn, as well as the knitting, was extremely labor intensive. An entry in a Shaker sisters diary from 1898 stated, "We finish the job of Coonskin picking,...200 skins, 361 lbs of good fur, 16 steady hands...have been employed 15 days." The fur, removed from the raccoon skins was carded, combined with silk, and then hand spun. The resulting yarn was noted for its softness, warmth, and durability.
Raccoon fur products were sold at the Mount Lebanon community gift shop and through Samuel Budd, an agent for the Shakers in New York City, who probably provided the Shakers with labels with his name on them.
For more on the raccoon fur knit items made for sale by the sisters of the Mount Lebanon Church Family, see this blog post: https://shakerml.org/mittens-gloves-wristlets-oh/
New York Mount Lebanon North Family