This is an exclusive, one-of-a-kind child's handmuff. The story behind it is quite fascinating.
The handmuff supposedly belonged to Mary Martha Donner of the Donner Party.
My great grandmother bought the muff at an antique store while on trip to California in 1915 to be at
the bedside of a sick friend. The store owner told her the muff belong to Mary Martha Donner during
her childhood and travelled West, through the Sierra Nevada. The store owner also said the muff
seemed to be blessed and good things happen to those who possess it.
After my great grandmother purchased the muff and returned home, she put it in a chest where it
remained for 100 years.
During the Winter of 1846/1847 when the Donner Party was stranded, fur muffs were popular and
practical. A century prior, silk handmuffs were more popular, and around 1860, fur muffs started
losing popularity (regaining it at the turn of the 20th Century). So this muff falls into 1840s time
period. I'm not certain of the manufacturing style, but it does look authentic. I can say it's at the
very least 100 years old, but I can't say for certain that it belonged to Mary Donner in the 1840s.
Though that's its unofficial history!
Since it's in such good shape, I personally believe it could have been gifted to Mary after she was
safely in California to represent her survival during a time and place that was nearly impossible.
|Antique Hand Muff