This silk scarf was given to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in 1859 as a gift from Reverend Isaac Newton Hurd. Its accession number, 27.O.M., indicates that it was acquired before the museum adopted its current accession number system in 1974. It is believed to be Indian in origin, and given the date of its acquisition, the latest point in time that it could have been made is the early- to mid-nineteenth century. The only additional information about this scarf in the accession files is the phrase, “missionary cabinet,” in its description, and a reference to a catalogue of missionary objects compiled by Louise Randolph (Mount Holyoke College Class of 1872). Randolph taught archaeology and art history at Mount Holyoke from 1892 to 1912. Further research may yield Randolph’s catalogue of missionary objects.
The donor, Rev. Hurd, was an alumnus of Auburn Theological Seminary (Class of 1849) and became a pastor at Big Flat, New York, after graduating. Hurd then served as a missionary in Arcot and Chintadrepettah, India, for over seven years. He married Mount Holyoke Seminary alumna Rachel Loretta Cowles (Class of 1859) in 1860. It seems likely that Rev. Hurd purchased the scarf while in India, and upon return to the United States, he gave it to Mount Holyoke in the same year that Rachel Loretta Cowles finished her schooling at the seminary.
Collections Database: MH 27.O.M.
The Auburn Seminary Review, Volume 3, No. 1, Auburn Theological Seminary (1899) p. 72
General Catalogue of Officers and Students of Mount Holyoke Seminary, South Hadley, Mass., 1837-1887, Mount Holyoke Seminary and College (1889), p. 75
Louise Fitz Randolph