Silversmiths, goldsmiths, jewelers. Louis and Heloise Boudo were among Charleston’s best-known and most successful antebellum silversmiths and jewelers. Louis Boudo arrived in Charleston from Santo Domingo about 1809. He established himself as “goldsmith, jeweler and hairworker” in a brief partnership with Nicholas Maurer before opening his own shop on the corner of Church and Queen Streets. There, in addition to representing himself as a jeweler and watchmaker, he advertised the manufacture of silver spoons and other silver work. Boudo’s best-known piece is a silver map case made on behalf of the state of South Carolina for General Lafayette during his farewell tour of America in 1825; this case is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Silver work marked “ls. boudo” or “boudo” in Roman capitals in a scroll or shaped rectangle includes a decanter label held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a pap boat owned by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and other pieces in the Charleston Museum and private collections. Boudo died in Charleston on January 11, 1827.
In 1811 Louis Boudo married Heloise (Louise) Simonet, the daughter of Eugenie Magniant and Stephen Simonet of Charleston. The marriage produced three children. Following Louis’s death, Heloise Boudo administered his estate and continued in the “manufactory of gold and silver work” at various addresses on King Street, paying cash for gold and silver and carrying on the jewelry business “in all its branches.” Heloise Boudo’s silver work was typically marked with “h. boudo” in a rectangle accompanied by three pseudo hallmarks. She was one of few female silversmiths in nineteenth-century America, and examples of her work are found in the Charleston Museum, Yale University’s Garvan Collection, and private collections. Heloise and Louis Boudo’s daughter, Erma LeRoy, continued the jewelry business after her mother’s death ca. 1837.
Burton, E. Milton. South Carolina Silversmiths 1690–1860. Revised and edited by Warren Ripley. Charleston, S.C.: Charleston Museum, 1991.
Nelson, Marie. “Heloise Boudo, Charleston Silversmith.” In MESDA 1992 Summer Institute Research Report. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 1992.