A hope chest, also known as a cedar chest or dowry chest, is a storage chest typically used to store linens, clothing, and valuable items in a household. It is often given to unmarried women as a gift during special occasions, such as weddings or graduations, with the hope that it will be filled with items needed for starting a new life or as a symbol of hope for a prosperous future. The hope chest is often passed down through generations as a family heirloom. Traditional form of furniture, used for storage of trousseaus. Dower chest.