Hope Chest

110 years later, the hope chest is in my living room
110 years later, the hope chest is in my living room

For this project, I chose a picture of my great-great grandmother Anna’s hope chest. This ancestor came from Latvia in 1908 and either purchased or received this hope chest as a gift later that year for her upcoming nuptials. Back in those times, hope chests were used to store items to go into a marriage with. My grandmother said these items could be anything from dishes and linens given at a bridal shower to homemade aprons and blankets the girls sewed themselves. Throughout these years, the hope chest has continued to be used to store items to be brought into marriages. Anna passed this chest down to her own daughter at the time of her engagement in 1934. My great-grandmother Ethel passed it to my grandmother in 1960 when she was engaged to my grandfather. This continued when my grandmother passed the chest to my mother for her first marriage in 1984. 

When I was 12 or 13 years old, the chest was brought into my room for storage purposes. I had no idea of its age or background and used it to store my antique doll collection. A few years later, I swapped those dolls out for pots and pans I would take with me when I moved to attend culinary school. Although I wasn’t getting married, this was closer to the original intent of the chest- storing needed items in preparation for a new life. Having finally had the background of this piece explained to me, I feel a deeper connection to the woman I’m named for and a strong desire to learn more about my ancestors’ lives. 

Place(s): Latvia
Year: 1908

– Ariana Seyssel

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more