Smith, Lavinia (rural life collector)

Extent: 445 objects
fire bucket from Lavinia Smith collection
Fire bucket, MERL 51/775

Lavinia Dugan Smith (1870-1944) lived in the village of East Hendred in Oxfordshire (formerly in Berkshire). She was an American who lived with her sister, Frances, although we know little about her life. Lavinia gathered objects from friends and neighbours in the East Hendred area, and even found some at the village dump. She displayed them to visitors, especially children from local schools, at their house called ‘Downside’. When Lavinia died, the collection was bequeathed to Berkshire Education Services, and later transferred to the Berkshire Archives at The MERL.

The Lavinia Smith collection contains of over 400 objects. It includes agricultural implements, shepherds’ crooks, horseshoes and harnesses, woodworking and metal working tools, and cooking equipment, and much much more.

More Information:

The objects are catalogued on the online database. Search using the phrase ‘Lavinia Smith’

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Sister Lavinia

Collecting Rural England

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