The New York Times is interested in documenting the stories of family heirlooms from all cultures and backgrounds across the United States. These heirlooms do not need to possess extraordinary monetary value — in fact, everyday items with emotional resonance are of particular interest — but these items, and their stories, should represent something special to you and your family.
For a recent project, we enlisted 10 photographers to tell the stories of their own family heirlooms for the commemoration of Juneteenth, a holiday centered on celebration and remembrance. Many of the objects these photographers chose aren’t obvious candidates to be heirlooms: An old cookbook. A typewriter case. An unearthed document. But taken together, they speak to how everyday items, when imbued with powerful narratives, can become the most treasured family keepsakes of all.
So tell us: What is your family’s most treasured heirloom? Is it a personal item, such as an inherited dress or an ancestor’s skillet? Or an item that recalls a storied career, such as a firefighter’s helmet, a chef’s apron or a photographer’s camera? Perhaps it is an important document, such as a will, passport or immigration form.
Please share it with us using the form below. We want to know all about your heirloom, why it is valuable to you and your family and what story it tells about your family’s past and present.