image of object
From: Eleanore Bradford Monahon, "Providence Cabinetmakers of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Antiques 87 (May 1965): 576
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Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker, attributed to Joseph Rawson, Sr., 1760–1835


35 3/8 41 5/8 22 1/8 in. (89.853 105.728 56.198 cm)



Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society


Made in Providence, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany and lightwood inlay (primary); pine (backboards, rear brackets, glue blocks on drawer bottoms, and drawer sides, bottoms, and backs); chestnut (drawer fronts)




“2,” in graphite, on exterior of brackets of rear feet; “B1” through “B4,” in graphite, on exterior drawer backs [from top to bottom]; “1” through “3” [each written twice, one or both possibly later], in graphite, on tops of dividers under upper three drawers [from top to bottom]; two slashes, in chalk, on underside of case bottom on proper-right side


A daughter of Benjamin Franklin; by descent to Dr. Charles F. Manchester, Pawtucket, Rhode Island; by descent to Elliott Flynt (1863–1949), Providence, Rhode Island; given to Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1949

Associated names

Dr. Charles F. Manchester
Elliott Flynt


The bow-fronted, single-board top has a square inlaid edge and is joined to its conformingly shaped case (which it overhangs slightly in the back) by screws in three longitudinal boards on its underside which are blind-dovetailed to the tops of the single-board case sides. The veneered upper board, or top rail, is bowed in front and straight in back, like the drawer dividers below, which are set into grooves in the case sides. The joints between the divider and case sides are covered by veneer strips on the stiles. There is no bottom rail. Kerf marks inside the case sides indicate that they are blind-dovetailed to the two-board case bottom. The case back consists of three horizontal half-lapped boards fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the case sides. Within the case are drawer supports with diagonally cut ends. They are fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails and interspersed with drawer stops similarly attached to the sides. The bottom drawer rests upon the case bottom. The cockbeading on the single-board veneered drawer fronts is nailed on with brads. The inside ends of the kerf-marked drawer fronts are slightly chamfered. They meet their flat-topped sides, flush with the cockbeaded tops, in concealed dovetail joints. The two-board drawer bottoms are parallel to the fronts, where they are held with small horizontal rectangular glue blocks, and chamfered at the sides, where they fit into grooves. Later runners are glued to the drawer-side bottoms, and multiple flat glue blocks fill the gap between runner and drawer bottom. The bottoms are fixed to the flat-topped drawer backs with rosehead nails. The front and side skirts consist of scallop-skirted boards held to the case with triangular and rectangular glue blocks. The front skirt is veneered, the side skirts solid. The front feet consist of horizontal shaped mitered blocks glued to the case bottom, to which are attached vertical shaped blocks, the whole faced with veneered French feet. The vertical block at the proper right front foot and its horizontal blocks are not contiguous. The rear feet consist of vertical chamfered blocks attached directly to the case bottom and accompanied by chamfered and triangular blocks. The rear side brackets are French, the back brackets are simple straight-sided trapezoidal boards which meet the side brackets in dovetail joints with small, thick-necked pins and half-pins above and below. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, November 10, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Catalog of The Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History 18, no. 3 (July 1959): 90–91, no. 53.
Eleanore Bradford Monahon, "Providence Cabinetmakers of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Antiques 87, no. 5 (May 1965): 576, fig. 11.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 455n4.