The Rhode Island Furniture Archive at the Yale University Art Gallery has as its goal the creation of a resource that combines a census of the furniture that was made in Rhode Island, from the founding of the colony in the seventeenth century to the dawn of the industrial era in about 1840, with 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 have a sabbatical in 2003–4 so that she could research public documents in the Rhode Island record repositories. This research provided the basis of the biographies of the makers. In addition, gifts from the following foundations and individuals supported the research, data entry, and photography: John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Helen D. Buchanan; Peter B. Cooper, B.A. 1960, LL.B. 1964, M.U.S. 1965; the Dobson Foundation, Inc.; Barbara W. Glauber; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; Rhoda and Stuart Holzer; Linda Kaufman; the William S. and Lora Jean Kilroy Foundation; Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; the Stanley and Martha Livingston Fund, the Rhode Island Foundation; Sarah Jeffords Radcliffe; Bridget and Alfred Ritter; Gayle and Howard Rothman; William Upton; Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang, B.A. 1965; Bruce Westcott; E. Martin Wunsch; and the Wunsch Foundation, Inc.
The project also benefitted from the many individuals who generously shared their research and object information, and provided other support. These include: Robert Almeida and Anne Adessi; Jeffrey Arnstein, Arnstein Associates; 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, Connecticut; the late Ralph Carpenter, 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; 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, Colchester, Connecticut; 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, Massachusetts; Laurent Torno; Stanley Weiss; and Don West for bringing additional citations to our attention. In particular, Gary Sullivan of Gary R. Sullivan Antiques Inc., in Sharon, Massachusetts, was remarkably generous in sharing information and illustrations of surviving Rhode Island furniture.
The custodians of public records were also generous with their time and resources, including the town 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 available through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Many private collectors and inheritors generously allowed us to examine their objects, which was invaluable for gleaning details of construction techniques, including: Douglas Anderson; 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; Shirley and Mark Donovan; Jacob Dunnell and Kelly Fagan; Mary and Norman Gronning; June and Joseph Hennage; the late Benjamin A. Hewitt; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; Gordon James; Thomas Jameson III; Linda Kaufman; Jeanie Kilroy; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Livingston, Jr., B.S. 1940; Mr. and Mrs. James G. Mersereau, B.E. 1953; Bridget and Alfred Ritter; Gayle and Howard Rothman; Nancy Carpenter Schock; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Seidlitz; Isaac Smith, Jr.; Monte and Anne Wallace; Lulu C. and Anthony W. Wang, B.A. 1965; 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 and Brandy S. Culp, Art Institute of Chicago; Ron M. Potvin, John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Dean F. Failey, John Hays, and Martha H. Willoughby, Christie’s, New York; Tara Gleason Chicirda, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Patrick Sheary, Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C.; Ronald T. Labaco, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; John Hunt House, East Providence Historical Society, Rhode Island; Joseph Kabe, Joseph Kabe Estate Auctions, Milford, Connecticut; Leigh Keno, Keno Auctions, New York; S. Dean Levy, B.A. 1964, and Frank Levy, Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; Jason T. Busch and Christopher Monkhouse, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Michael K. Brown, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; M. Joan Youngken and Adams Taylor, Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island; A. Bruce MacLeish, Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island; Ronald P. Bourgeault, Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Susan Gunn Bromley, Norwalk Museum, Connecticut; David L. Barquist, M.A. 1994, M.Phil. 1995, Ph.D. 2001; David deMuzio, and Christopher Storb, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Charles J. Burns and Paul F. Miller, the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island; Elizabeth Beach, Putnam Elms Historic House Museum and Episcopal Church, Brooklyn, Connecticut; Jane Williamson, Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vermont; Jean M. Burks, Shelburne Museum, Vermont; Stephen Fletcher and Martha Hamilton, Skinner, Inc., Boston; and Erik Gronning and Leslie Keno, Sotheby’s, New York.
Securing permission to use images on the Web site was a daunting task undertaken by Nancy Yates, 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, Connecticut; 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, Massachusetts; David W. P. Ayers; Babcock-Smith House, Westerly, Rhode Island; William H. Bakeman, Jr., Bakeman Antiques, Wilbraham, Massachusetts; 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, Massachusetts; Philip H. Bradley Co. Antiques, Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Dr. Barrett Bready; Allan Breed; Rima Ibrahim and Barry R. Harwood, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Darlene and Thomas A. Brown; Blaine Brown, Brown Bros. Auction Gallery, Buckingham, Pennsylvania; Robert P. Emlen, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Carlton C. Brownell; Andrew Brunk and Tipton Gentry, Brunk Auctions, Asheville, North Carolina; Helen D. Buchanan; Don Buckley, Buckley and Buckley, Salisbury, Connecticut; Edith Swain and William C. Bullock, Jr.; Joan Caddigan, Caddigan Auctioneers and Appraisers, Inc., Hanover, Massachusetts; Russell Carlson, Carlsen Gallery, Inc., Freehold, New York; Jason T. Busch, Rachel Delphia, and Laurel Mitchell, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Mrs. Ralph Carpenter; Dr. Michael Centrella; Jonathan Prown and Nancy Sazama, Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wisconsin; Stephen S. Lash and Helen S. Williams, Christie’s, New York; Stephen Harrison and Elizabeth Saluk, Cleveland Museum of Art; Jim George, the Cobbs Auctioneers, Peterborough, New Hampshire; 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, New York; Anita Hochstein and Jim Cooke; Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc., Towson, Maryland; Alletta M. Morris Cooper Antiques, Newport, Rhode Island; James Thompson, Copake Auction Inc., New York; Thos. Cornell Galleries, Ltd., Patchogue, New York; Janet Counts; Roland Kemball, Cowan’s Auction, Inc., Cincinnati; Karin J. Phillips, CRN Auctions, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts; 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, the 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, Connecticut; Deborah Gaile Clemence, Robert C. Eldred Co., Inc., East Dennis, Massachusetts; Nancy Goyne Evans; Jack DeStories, Fairfield Auction, Newtown, Connecticut; Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Falk, B.A. 1960; Bob Burke, Fontaine’s Antique Auction Gallery, Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Lisa Korzetz, Leslie Mio, and Charles Sable, The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan; 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, Virginia; Claudia and Bob Haneberg, the Hanebergs Antiques, East Lyme, Connecticut; Alison Hannan; Justin Harden, Harden Studios, Barnstable, Massachusetts; Anthony Harris; Olivia Holt and Sophia James, Hascoe Associates, Greenwich, Connecticut; Judith and John Herdeg; Berry C. Lowden, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Michael Hingston Antiques, Etna, New Hampshire; Joshua Lane, M.Phil. 1990, and Penny Leveritt, Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts; Jeanne Gamble and Nora Hanna, Historic New England, Boston; Frank L. Hohmann III; Philip Holzer; John Hunt House, East Providence Historical Society, Rhode Island; 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, New York; Bill Gage and Katya Tilton, James D. Julia, Inc., Fairfield, Maine; Thomas Jameson III; Edward C. Johnson; Lisa A. Hurst and Linda Kaufman; Keno Auctions, New York; Lora Jean Kilroy; Ann and Mark Kington; Kelly Kinzle Antiques, New Oxford, Pennsylvania; William A. Lanford; John D. Levasseur; Michelle-Lee Humphrey and Marjory O’Toole, Little Compton Historical Society, Rhode Island; 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, Georgia; 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, Massachusetts; Stanley May; Mr. and Mrs. John L. McGraw; John McInnis Auctioneers, Amesbury, Massachusetts; Elizabeth E. Barker and Inga Stevens, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts; Sheila Damkoehler and Suzanne L. Flynt, Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield, Massachusetts; Duane Merrill and Company Auctioneers and Appraisers, Williston, Vermont; James Mersereau, B.E. 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, Pennsylvania; Moses Brown School, Providence, Rhode Island; Liza and Michael Moses; Halsey Munson; Michele Doyle and June Lucas, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; 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, Connecticut; Bridgitte Rodguez and S. Scott Scholz, National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Washington, D.C.; Peter A. Nelson, Woodbury, Connecticut; Catherine L. Futter, M.A. 1986, Ph.D. 1993, Karin Jones, and Sharon Sherman, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; Edward Baker, New London County Historical Society, Connecticut; Jill Slaight, New-York Historical Society; Megan Delaney, Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island; Kristen Costa Francoeur, Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island; Maria V. Shevzov, North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Executive Mansion, Raleigh; Joyce A. Nicholson; Ronald Bourgeault and Denise Douglas, Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Ed Oestreich, Damariscotta, Maine; Jeannette Robichaud, Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts; Karen and Daniel Olson, Newburgh, New York; Anne Ott; Dean T. Lahikainen, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Holly Frisbee, Deborah M. Rebuck, and Geima Tsakuginow, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Deirdre Magarelli, Pook and Pook, Inc., Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Charles J. Burns, Andrea Carneiro, and Paul Miller, Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island; C. L. Prickett Antiques, Yardley, Pennsylvania; Derik Pulito, Kensington, Connecticut; Michele P. Mannion and Donald V. Rainville; Doug Ramsay, DBR Antiques, Hadley, Massachusetts; Lisa Long, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island; 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, Vermont; Doris Seidlitz; Julie B. Sopher, Shelburne Museum, Vermont; Bruce B. Shilling; Stephen Fletcher and Ann M. Trodella, Skinner, Inc., Boston; The Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, Connecticut; Isaac Smith, Jr.; Jennifer Strobel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Elliot and Grace Snyder, South Egremont, Massachusetts; Blair Hance, Melissa Flory, and Leslie Keno, Sotheby’s, New York; Anna Costa and Jean-Paul Napoli, South Bay Auctions, East Moriches, New York; George and Debbie Speicker; Cara McCarty, Leigh Hamer, David Conradsen, and Rachel Shoup Swiston, Saint Louis Art Museum; Peter Gosselink, Stair Galleries, Hudson, New York; Douglas W. Stinson, Carl W. Stinson, Inc., Auctioneers and Appraisers, Reading, Massachusetts; Matthew Buckley, Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Sharon, Massachusetts; Bob Grant, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Maine; Claire Simler, Dana Tillou, Jeffrey Tillou, and Peter Tillou, Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, Litchfield, Connecticut; 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, New York; Caryl Burtner, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Frederick Vogel; Alyce Perry Englund and Erin Monroe, Wadsworh Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; Charles T. Lyle, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield, Connecticut; Max Webber Co., Middleton, Massachusetts; Marc Beaulac, The Stanley Weiss Collection, Providence, Rhode Island; Karen and Paul Wendhiser; Karen Weschler, Weschler’s Auctioneers and Appraisers, Washington, D.C.; Bruce Westcott; Westerly Public Library and Wilcox Park, Rhode Island; Karin Kaneps, David Wheatcroft Antiques, Westborough, Massachusetts; Michael R. Corcoran, Gustave J. S. White Estate Auctioneers, Newport, Rhode Island; William G. Allman and Melissa C. Naulin, The White House, Washington, D.C.; Christina K. Vida, Winter Associates, Inc., Plainville, Connecticut; Richard McKinstry, Susan Newton, and Jeanne Solensky, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Delaware; Joyce Wolf; Emily Winacoo, Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Jane and Phil Workman; and Martin and Peter Wunsch.
Members of the Yale University Art Gallery offered crucial support in the development of this Web site including: John Stuart Gordon, the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, Diane C. Wright, former Marcia Brady Tucker Fellow, and Emily M. Orr, Marcia Brady Tucker Fellow, all Department of American Decorative Arts, who assisted with furniture examinations; Katherine Chabla, Museum Assistant, Department of American Decorative Arts, who oversaw the database entry in the Furniture Study; Ariana French, Data and Database Specialist, Thomas Raich, Director of Information Technology, and Tim Speevack, Data Systems Specialist, who guided the development of the database; Christopher Sleboda, Director of Graphic Design, who designed the Web site; Tiffany Sprague, Director of Publications and Editorial Services, who set the editorial standards; and Brian McGovern, Assistant Director for Museum Resources and Stewardship, and Jill Westgard, Deputy Director for Museum Resources and Stewardship, who helped with the fundraising.