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Object Name: Pepper box
Date: ca. 1730
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Medium: Silver
Dimensions: Overall: 3 × 2 1/4 × 3 3/8 in. (7.6 × 5.7 × 8.6 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Seamed silver pepper box; cylindrical body seamed to the right of the handle and around the flat, set-in base; applied, molded baseband; applied, plain s-scroll handle; domed, circular lid with bezel and geometric and trefoil pierce work; engraved, "S / I * I" and "M * T" in block letters on the base; maker's mark stamped below the rim to the left of the handle.
Credit Line: Purchase, Abbott-Lenox Fund
Object Number: 1976.32ab
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Marks: Engraved on the base: "S / I * I" above "M * T" both in block letters; stamped below the rim, left of the handle: "SS" in roman letters in a rectangle

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Silversmith Simeon Soumain is known to have been a slave owner. In 1741, when the "Great Negro Plot" threatened in New York City, Soumain's slave Tom told authorities that the conspirators asked him to get swords from his master's shop. Two years later, Soumain advertised that a pepper box much like this had been stolen.


"Slavery in New York," New-York Historical Society, October 17, 2005–March 5, 2006.