Recent Acquisition: Mary Dyer’s Bodkin

December 16, 2020

A gold bodkin owned by Mary Dyer (1611-1660). 2020.030.001, NHS Collection

The Newport Historical Society recently received a donation of a bodkin owned by Mary Dyer (1611-1660). The bodkin, a long, thick needle, is made of gold and features the initials “M.D.” engraved above the eye.

Mary Dyer was expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for practicing her Quaker faith. She was part of the group that originally purchased settlement rights on Aquidneck Island from its native people and first establishing Portsmouth, and later, Newport. She was hanged in Boston in 1660 after continually returning to Boston in defiance of anti-Quaker laws.

The Newport Historical Society thanks Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr. for the generous donation of this piece of Newport’s history.