Hannah Robinson

Hannah Robinson, Wilmington, working 1845-1878.

Hannah Robinson is the only known woman silversmith of Delaware from 1700 to 1850. Pieces marked H. Robinson in a rectangle with the name standing out were probably made by Hannah Robinson, while the H. Robinson incised into the metal was probably her dealer’s stamp. Fiddleback spoons with the less desirable stamped mark are occasionally offered for sale.

The third child in the Robinson silversmithing family, Hannah Robinson was born February 2, 1803. After teaching school, she succeeded her brother, John F. Robinson in the silver and jewelry business in his Market Street shop. Her business was successful and well managed, and she left many business records.

She apparently had a keen appreciation of the power of advertising, for she was the only Delaware silversmith to distribute broadsides announcing her wares. An inventory of her stock, made on December 31, 1850, shows that by that date she was selling manufactured goods but still made and repaired other items. Other business records show her business dealings with Emmor Jefferis, her brother-in-law, and Thomas J. Megear, and her purchase of a house in 1856.

Hannah Robinson never married but aided in raising her younger brothers and sisters. She was also active in the Delaware Avenue Bethany Baptist Church. In 1876 she made aprons and a silk quilt for the church. She was a woman of good character and a favorite with her relatives, and when she died on July 1, 1878, she left jewelry and furniture to all her relations by name along with enough means to support her dependent maiden sister, Sally.