Museum Homepage

The San Mateo County Historical Association
Online Collections Database

The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
of the cultural and natural history of San Mateo County.

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1973.260.001
Description Hand-loomed Linen Bedsheet, c. 1865-1873. Creme colored hand-loomed linen bedsheet has a selvage edge on the sides with a hem at top and bottom. Top left corner there is a 1in by 1.625in light brown cross stitch embroidery, "S+C / 2". Hand-loomed linen was woven in two sections 36in each and sewn together creating a vertical seam down the center.
Object Name Bedsheet
Collection 3D - Bedding
Title Hand-loomed Linen Bedsheet, c. 1865-1873
Date c. 1865-1873
Creator Unknown
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "S + C / 2" (brown cross-stitch in top left corner)
Provenance Brought from New York State about 1930s by donor's friend, a lady in her 90s. All items in this donation were over 100 years old when donated (1973) with the exception of the finger towels which were about 50 years old.
Notes Received October 1973.

"A bed sheet is a flat-woven textile that is used on a bed between the occupant of a bed and the warm blanket above. It is generally a rectangle of broadloomed fabric, meaning it is made without a center seam. Bed sheets have hems at top and bottom. The selvages, or finished edges of the woven sheet as it is made on the loom are used as side seams and thus there is no need for hemming on the sides. Today, the bed sheet comes as part of a set of bed linens that match in color, fabric, and detail and includes the fitted sheet (to cover the mattress), the flat sheet and at least one pillow case."

"Beds of some sort have been around for millennia. It is unknown when sheeting was first used to keep the sleeper comfortable but it is likely that the first true bed sheets were linen. Linen, derived from the flax plant, has been cultivated for centuries and was expertly cultivated, spun, and woven by the Egyptians. It is a laborious plant to cultivate but the finished fabric is perfect for bed sheeting because it is more soft to the touch than cotton and becomes more lustrous with use. Linen sheeting was made on conventional looms that were between 30-40 in (76.2-101.6 cm) wide, resulting in bed sheets that had to be seamed down the center in order to be large enough for use." []
Dimensions H-94.5 W-73.375 inches
Medium Textile
Search Terms Bed
Bed Linen
Subjects Beds