The Rhode Island Furniture Archive at the Yale University Art Gallery has as its goal the creation of a census of the furniture that was made in Rhode Island from the founding of the colony in the 17th century to the dawn of the industrial era in about 1840, including data about the makers and owners. Such a resource has never before been compiled in the field of American decorative arts and doing so has presented many challenges and necessitated the help and support of numerous individuals and institutions. Those of us who assembled this resource take this opportunity to extend sincere thanks to them.
Financial support was essential in the creation of this database, and we thank the Henry Luce Foundation for the grant that enabled Patricia E. Kane, Friends of American Arts Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Gallery, to take a sabbatical in 2003–4 to research public documents in the Rhode Island record repositories. This research provided the basis for the biographies of the makers. In addition, gifts from the following foundations and individuals supported research, data entry, and photography: Gail and Edgar Berner; the John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Helen D. Buchanan; Peter B. Cooper, B.A. 1960, LL.B. 1964, M.U.S. 1965; the Dobson Foundation; Barbara W. Glauber; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; Rhoda and Stuart J. Holzer; Linda H. Kaufman; the William S. and Lora Jean Kilroy Foundation; Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; Nathan Liverant and Son, LLC, Colchester, Conn.; the Stanley and Martha Livingston Fund, Rhode Island Foundation; Sarah Jeffords; Bridget and Alfred Ritter; Gayle and Howard Rothman; William Upton; Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang, B.A. 1965; Bruce J. Westcott; E. Martin Wunsch; and the Wunsch Americana Foundation.
The project also benefited from the many individuals who generously shared research and object information and provided other support. These include: Robert Almeida and Anne Adessi; Jeffrey Arnstein, Arnstein Associates, Hartford, Conn.; Susan Doherty and Syed Ali; Claire Arnold; W. Scott Braznell, who assisted with furniture examinations; Allan Breed, who provided guidance on construction techniques; Cherry Fletcher Bamberg; Renee Brown-Bryant; Don Buckley, Buckley and Buckley, Salisbury, Conn.; Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., who shared his research files; Jay A. Cary; Brian Cullity; Deborah Downey; Neil Dunay; Robert Emlen, who shared the Sara Steiner research notes on furniture makers in Rhode Island land records; Katherine Farnham and Deanne Levison, who assisted with the research on Thomas Spencer; Julian Fisher; Erik Gronning, for his help in identifying features of Rhode Island easy chairs; Jeffrey Greene; Anthony Harris; Morrison H. Heckscher, who provided information on John Townsend; Becky Hunter; Elizabeth Lahikainen, for her help in identifying upholstery techniques; Peter Larson; Arthur Liverant, Nathan Liverant and Son, LLC, Colchester, Conn.; Sean Fisher, Robert Mussey Associates, Boston, for sharing information on a documented Thomas Townsend bureau table; Richard Mones; Liza and Michael Moses, who donated their photographic archive on Rhode Island furniture to the Gallery; Jack O’Brien; Joan Parcher; Sumpter Priddy III; David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles; Arun Singh; Anne Rogers Haley, who donated her research notes on British trade records; Michael P. Wheeler, Tomorrow’s Antiques, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; Laurent Torno; Stanley Weiss; and Don West for bringing additional citations to our attention. In particular, Matt Buckley and Gary Sullivan of Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., in Sharon, Massachusetts, were remarkably generous in sharing information about and illustrations of surviving Rhode Island furniture.
The custodians of public records were also generous with their time and resources, including the clerks of all the towns in Rhode Island who opened their archives to us, as well as the staff of the Rhode Island State Archives and Stephen Grimes, Andrew Smith, and other staff members of the Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Ray Battcher, Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Rhode Island, and Bertram Lippincott III, Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island, provided access to resources at those institutions. Kathleen Jones and the volunteers at the Woodbridge Family History Center, Connecticut, provided access to genealogical records through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Many private collectors and inheritors generously allowed us to examine their objects, a process that was invaluable for gleaning details of construction techniques, including: Douglas Anderson; Robert M. Bass, B.A. 1971; Henry Beckwith; Nathan Benn; Barbara and Richard Benson, Hon. 1996; Helen D. Buchanan; Mr. and Mrs. William C. Bullock, Jr., B.A. 1958; Pam Carr, Carr Family Homestead; Cheryl and William Collins; Tara Cederholm, Matthew Kulik, Emily Schneider, and Martha Small, the Crosby Company of New Hampshire, LLC, Salem; Lilo and Charles Dare; Shirley and Mark Donovan; Jacob Dunnell and Kelly Fagan; Dyer family members Lili Dyer, Natalie Dyer, and Diana Knoblauch; David Ford; Constance Godfrey; Mary and Norman Gronning; Penny Harris; Mary Lou and James B. Hawkes; June and Joseph Hennage; Judith and John Herdeg; Benjamin A. Hewitt; Lara and Glenn Hillman; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; Gordon James; Thomas Jameson III; Linda H. Kaufman; Jeanie Kilroy Wilson; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Livingston, Jr., B.S. 1940; Ann and Michael Loeb; Barbara and Andrew McCurdy; Marjorie and John McGraw; Decourcy E. McIntosh; Shirley and James G. Mersereau, B.S. 1953; Anne Ott; Tracy and Al Patnaude; Sarah and Harvey Perry; Gerald Peters; Peter Pfannenroth; Bridget and Alfred Ritter; Gayle and Howard Rothman; Nancy Carpenter Schock; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Seidlitz; Isaac Smith, Jr.; Anne H. and Frederick I. Vogel III; Ron Vukelich; Monte and Anne Wallace; Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang, B.A. 1965; Karen and Richard Waterman; Bruce Westcott; Henry Austin Wood; and E. Martin Wunsch.
Auction houses, dealers, and institutions allowed us to study and record examples of Rhode Island furniture, and we acknowledge the help of the following: Judith Barter, Brandy S. Culp, and Monica Obniski, Art Institute of Chicago; Ellen Madison and Charlene Senical, Babcock-Smith House Museum, Westerly, R.I.; Ron M. Potvin, John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Ted McCoy, Jonathan Prown, and Steve Wallschlaeger, Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee; Dean F. Failey, John Hays, and Martha H. Willoughby, Christie’s, New York; Tara Gleason Chicirda, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Patrick Sheary, Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Myers, Detroit Institute of Arts; Marcee Craighill and Virginia B. Hart, Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.; Daniel B. Randall, Senior Pastor, First Congregational Church, Bristol, R.I.; Clara Deck, Mark Gervasi, Lisa Korzetz, Leslie Mio, Carol Ann Missant, Charles Sable, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.; Ronald T. Labaco, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Ned Lazaro and Philip Zea, Historic Deerfield, Inc., Mass.; Nancy Carlisle, Historic New England, Boston; John Hunt House, East Providence Historical Society, R.I.; Joseph Kabe, Joseph Kabe Estate Auctions, Milford, Conn.; Leigh Keno, Keno Auctions, New York; Deanne Levison, Atlanta; S. Dean Levy, B.A. 1964, and Frank Levy, Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; Nathan Liverant and Son, LLC, Colchester, Conn.; Morgan Mac Whinnie, Southampton, N.Y.; Anne von Rosenberg, Martin House and Farm, Swansea, Mass.; Bradley Bailey and Elizabeth Barker, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Mass.; Nancy Britton, Alyce Perry Englund, Moira Gallagher, Morrison H. Heckscher, and Peter M. Kenny, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Melissa Hartley Omholt, Milwaukee Art Museum; Jason T. Busch and Christopher Monkhouse, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Dennis Carr, Nonnie Gadsen, Christine Schaette, and Gerald Ward, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Michael K. Brown, Remi Dyll, and Michael Kennaugh, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Nancy W. Grinnell, Newport Art Museum, R.I.; Matthew DeLaire, Jennifer Robinson, Ruth Taylor, Adams Taylor, and M. Joan Youngken, Newport Historical Society, R.I.; Kristen Costa and A. Bruce MacLeish, Newport Restoration Foundation, R.I.; Ronald P. Bourgeault, Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, N.H.; Susan Gunn Bromley, Norwalk Museum, Conn.; David L. Barquist, M.A. 1994, M.Phil. 1995, Ph.D. 2001, David deMuzio, and Christopher Storb, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Suzanne Flynt and Van Wood, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, Mass.; Charles J. Burns and Paul F. Miller, Preservation Society of Newport County, R.I.; Elizabeth Beach, Putnam Elms Historic House Museum and Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, Conn.; Whitney Pape, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, R.I.; Kirsten Hammerstrom, J. D. Kay, and Dana Munroe, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence; Laura Ostrander, Michael Owen, Elizabeth Williams, and Stephen Wing, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Jane Williamson, Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vt.; Jean M. Burks, Shelburne Museum, Vt.; Stephen Fletcher and Martha Hamilton, Skinner, Inc., Boston; and Erik Gronning and Leslie Keno, Sotheby’s, New York; William Stahl, Millbrook, N.Y.; Alyce Perry Englund, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.; David J. Bernard, Taylor B. Williams Antiques, Harbert, Mich.; Brigette Hopkins and Nina Wright, Westerly Public Library, R.I.; and Mark Anderson, Stephanie Auffret, Wendy Cooper, Linda Eaton, Julia Hofer, Josh Lane, Mary McGinn, and Catharine Roeber, Winterthur Museum, Del.
Securing permission to use images on the website was a daunting task undertaken by Nancy Stedman, Museum Assistant at the Gallery, with the assistance of bursary student Lauren Romanello. For responding to requests for rights to images we thank the following individuals and institutions: Susan Doherty and Syed Ali; Dr. Douglas Anderson; Stephen T. B. Jablonski, Antiquario Villas and Cottages Antiques, Woodbury, Conn.; Sam Schnaidt, Apple Tree Auction Center, Newark, Ohio; Amy B. Berman, Jacqueline G. Maman, Art Institute of Chicago; Paula Lupton, General Artemas Ward House Museum, Harvard University, Shrewsbury, Mass.; David W. P. Ayers; Babcock-Smith House, Westerly, R.I.; William H. Bakeman, Jr., Bakeman Antiques, Wilbraham, Mass.; Brianna Bedigian, David Park Curry, Brittany Emens, and Amanda Hamilton, Baltimore Museum of Art; Cherry Fletcher Bamberg; Nathan Benn; Barbara and Richard Benson; Nicholas Benson; Michael March, Blackwood/March Auctioneers, Essex, Mass.; Philip H. Bradley Co. Antiques, Downingtown, Pa.; Dr. Barrett Bready; Allan Breed; Rima Ibrahim and Barry R. Harwood, Brooklyn Museum of Art; Darlene and Thomas A. Brown; Blaine Brown, Brown Brothers Auction Gallery, Buckingham, Pa.; Robert P. Emlen, Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Carlton C. Brownell; Andrew Brunk and Tipton Gentry, Brunk Auctions, Asheville, N.C.; Helen D. Buchanan; Don Buckley, Buckley and Buckley, Salisbury, Conn.; Edith Swain and William C. Bullock, Jr.; Joan Caddigan, Caddigan Auctioneers and Appraisers, Inc., Hanover, Mass.; Russell Carlson, Carlsen Gallery, Inc., Freehold, N.Y.; Jason T. Busch, Rachel Delphia, and Laurel Mitchell, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Mrs. Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr.; Dr. Michael Centrella; Jonathan Prown and Nancy Sazama, Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wis.; Stephen S. Lash and Helen S. Williams, Christie’s, New York; Stephen Harrison and Elizabeth Saluk, Cleveland Museum of Art; Jim George, Cobbs Auctioneers, Peterborough, N.H.; Marilyn and Robert Cohen; Melissa A. Bennett and Richard C. Malley, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford; Chris Considine Antiques, Falmouth, Maine; Douglas Constant, Inc., Long Island, N.Y.; Anita Hochstein and Jim Cooke; Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc., Towson, Md.; Alletta M. Morris Cooper Antiques, Newport, R.I.; James Thompson, Copake Auction Inc., New York; Thos. Cornell Galleries, Ltd., Patchogue, N.Y.; Janet Counts; Roland Kemball, Cowan’s Auction, Inc., Cincinnati; Karin J. Phillips, CRN Auctions, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.; Frank Curro; Andrew A. Dahl; Erin K. Murphy and Jeff Zilm, Dallas Museum of Art; Stephanie Livingston, Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C.; Will South, Dayton Art Institute, Ohio; Sarah Cucinella-McDaniel and Donna Kerwin, Denver Art Museum; Pamela Marcil, Kenneth John Myers, and Kristine K. Ronan, Detroit Institute of Arts; Shirley and Mark Donovan; Michele Doyle, Doyle New York Auctioneers and Appraisers, New York; Thomas R. DuBrock; David Dunton Antiques, Woodbury, Conn.; Deborah Gaile Clemence, Robert C. Eldred Co., Inc., East Dennis, Mass.; Nancy Goyne Evans; Jack DeStories, Fairfield Auction, Newtown, Conn.; Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Falk, B.A. 1960; Bob Burke, Fontaine’s Antique Auction Gallery, Pittsfield, Mass.; Lisa Korzetz, Leslie Mio, and Charles Sable, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.; Amelia and Jeff Jeffers, Christa Johnson, Garth’s Auctions, Inc., Delaware, Ohio; Tamsen George; Constance P. Godfrey; Timothy J. Gould, Gould Auctions, Smithfield, Maine; Norman Gronning; Gloria and Jim Hagdone, Hagdone Antiques, Charlottesville, Va.; Claudia and Bob Haneberg, Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Conn.; Alison Hannan; Justin Harden, Harden Studios, Barnstable, Mass.; Anthony Harris; Olivia Holt and Sophia James, Hascoe Associates, Greenwich, Conn.; Judith and John Herdeg; Berry C. Lowden, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Michael Hingston Antiques, Etna, N.H.; Joshua Lane, M.Phil. 1990, and Penny Leveritt, Historic Deerfield, Mass.; Jeanne Gamble and Nora Hanna, Historic New England, Boston; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; John Hunt House, East Providence Historical Society, R.I.; Peter D. Hynson Antiques, Baltimore; Abby Manship, iGavel, Inc., New York; R. Craig Miller, Indianapolis Museum of Art; Robert S. Isbell, M.D.; Ferris Jacobs; Valdemar F. Jacobsen Antiques, Huntington, N.Y.; Bill Gage and Katya Tilton, James D. Julia, Inc., Fairfield, Maine; Thomas Jameson III; Edward C. Johnson; Lisa A. Hurst and Linda H. Kaufman; Keno Auctions, New York; Lora Jean Kilroy; Ann and Mark Kington; Kelly Kinzle Antiques, New Oxford, Pa.; William A. Lanford; John D. Levasseur; Michelle-Lee Humphrey and Marjory O’Toole, Little Compton Historical Society, R.I.; Martha and Stanley Livingston, Jr., B.S. 1940; Michael Locati; Bobbye Tigerman, Piper Wynn Severance, Staci Steinberger, and Brittainy Welt, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Joseph Bush and Katherine Keena, Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Savannah, Ga.; David Hewett and Clayton Pennington, Maine Antique Digest, Waldoboro, Maine; Dr. George E. Manger, Jr., B.A. 1965; Dana Costanza Street, Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Edgartown, Mass.; Stanley May; Mr. and Mrs. John L. McGraw; John McInnis Auctioneers, Amesbury, Mass.; Elizabeth E. Barker and Inga Stevens, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Mass.; Sheila Damkoehler and Suzanne L. Flynt, Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield, Mass.; Duane Merrill and Company Auctioneers and Appraisers, Williston, Vt.; James Mersereau, B.S. 1953; Morrison H. Heckscher, Eileen Sullivan, and Nicholas C. Vincent, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Edward Stinson, Mid-Atlantic Auctions and Appraisals, Inc., Greenville, Delaware; Austin T. Miller American Antiques, Columbus, Ohio; Melissa Buchanan, Sarah Fayen, B.A. 1998, and Stephanie Hansen, Milwaukee Art Museum; DeAnn M. Dankowski, Minneapolis Institute Arts; Dr. Richard Mones; Morphy Auctions, Denver, Pa.; Moses Brown School, Providence, R.I.; Liza and Michael Moses; Halsey Munson; Michele Doyle and June Lucas, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Erin M. A. Schleigh Lewis, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Michael K. Brown, Margaret C. McKee, and Marty Stein, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Heather Nadeau, Nadeau’s Auction Gallery, Inc., Windsor, Conn.; Bridgitte Rodguez and S. Scott Scholz, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Washington, D.C.; Peter A. Nelson, Woodbury, Conn.; Catherine L. Futter, M.A. 1986, Ph.D. 1993, Karin Jones, and Sharon Sherman, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.; Edward Baker, New London County Historical Society, Conn.; Jill Slaight, New-York Historical Society; Megan Delaney, Newport Historical Society, R.I.; Kristen Costa Francoeur, Newport Restoration Foundation, R.I.; Maria V. Shevzov, North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Executive Mansion, Raleigh; Joyce A. Nicholson; Ronald Bourgeault and Denise Douglas, Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, N.H.; Ed Oestreich, Damariscotta, Maine; Jeannette Robichaud, Old Sturbridge Village, Mass.; Karen and Daniel Olson, Newburgh, N.Y.; Anne Ott; Dean T. Lahikainen, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.; Holly Frisbee, Deborah M. Rebuck, and Geima Tsakuginow, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Deirdre Magarelli, Pook and Pook, Inc., Downingtown, Pa.; Charles J. Burns, Andrea Carneiro, and Paul Miller, Preservation Society of Newport County, R.I.; C. L. Prickett Antiques, Yardley, Pa.; Derik Pulito, Kensington, Conn.; Michele P. Mannion and Donald V. Rainville; Doug Ramsay, DBR Antiques, Hadley, Mass.; Lisa Long, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, R.I.; Kirsten Hammerstrom and J. D. Kay, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence; Denise Bastien, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Rivard Auctions, Bridgton, Maine; Richard D. Roberts; Jane Williamson, Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vt.; Doris Seidlitz; Julie B. Sopher, Shelburne Museum, Vt.; Bruce B. Shilling; Stephen Fletcher and Ann M. Trodella, Skinner, Inc., Boston; The Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, Conn.; Isaac Smith, Jr.; Jennifer Strobel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Elliot and Grace Snyder, South Egremont, Mass.; Blair Hance, Melissa Flory, and Leslie Keno, Sotheby’s, New York; Anna Costa and Jean-Paul Napoli, South Bay Auctions, East Moriches, N.Y.; George and Debbie Speicker; Cara McCarty, Leigh Hamer, David Conradsen, and Rachel Shoup Swiston, Saint Louis Art Museum; Peter Gosselink, Stair Galleries, Hudson, N.Y.; Douglas W. Stinson, Carl W. Stinson, Inc., Auctioneers and Appraisers, Reading, Mass.; Matthew Buckley, Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Sharon, Mass.; Bob Grant, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Maine; Claire Simler, Dana Tillou, Jeffrey Tillou, and Peter Tillou, Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, Litchfield, Conn.; Emily Corwin and Jutta-Annette Page, Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; W. Robert Peterson and Lynn M. Turner, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.; Laura Carpenter, Van Cortlandt House Museum, Bronx; Caryl Burtner, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Frederick Vogel; Alyce Perry Englund and Erin Monroe, Wadsworh Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.; Charles T. Lyle, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield, Conn.; Max Webber Co., Middleton, Mass.; Marc Beaulac, Stanley Weiss Collection, Providence, R.I.; Karen and Paul Wendhiser; Karen Weschler, Weschler’s Auctioneers and Appraisers, Washington, D.C.; Bruce Westcott; Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park, R.I.; Karin Kaneps, David Wheatcroft Antiques, Westborough, Mass.; Michael R. Corcoran, Gustave J. S. White Estate Auctioneers, Newport, R.I.; William G. Allman and Melissa C. Naulin, The White House, Washington, D.C.; Christina K. Vida, Winter Associates, Inc., Plainville, Conn.; Richard McKinstry, Susan Newton, and Jeanne Solensky, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Delaware; Joyce Wolf; Emily Winacoo, Worcester Art Museum, Mass.; Jane and Phil Workman; and Martin and Peter Wunsch.
Members of the Yale University Art Gallery offered crucial support in the development of the original website that was hosted by the Gallery including: John Stuart Gordon, the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Curator of American Decorative Arts, Jennifer N. Johnson, the former Marcia Brady Tucker Senior Fellow, and Emily M. Orr and Diane C. Wright, former Marcia Brady Tucker Fellows, all Department of American Decorative Arts, who assisted with furniture examinations; Katherine Chabla, former Museum Assistant, Department of American Decorative Arts, who oversaw the database entry in the Furniture Study; Ariana French and Scott Williams, former Data and Database Specialists, Thomas Raich, Chief Technology Officer, and Tim Speevack, Data Systems Specialist, who guided the development of the database; Christopher Sleboda, former Director of Graphic Design, who designed the original website; Tiffany Sprague, Director of Publications and Editorial Services, who set the editorial standards; and Brian McGovern, Director for Advancement and External Affairs, and Jill Westgard, former Deputy Director for Museum Resources and Stewardship, who helped with the fundraising. Volunteers have contributed numerous hours: Peter B. Cooper, B.A. 1960, LL.B. 1964, M.U.S. 1965, and Fred Murphy conducted genealogical research; and Thomas B. Lloyd, B.A. 1977, wrote the notes on construction. The move of the Rhode Island Furniture Archive to ArtStor Public Collections relied on the assistance of Yer Vang-Cohen, Data and Database Administrator at the Gallery, along with Lindsay King, Associate Director for Access and Research Services, and Heather Gendron, Director, both at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University.