When the initial query came about our interest in
an account book of a furniture maker, I was not overwhelmed. Until, that is, I received a scan of the very first page. The entry that caught my eye read “Eliza Punderson sampler frame 12 x 8 1/2”. Now that got my attention! One rarely if ever sees an entry for a sampler frame in an account book (although I have seen one or two receipts). The other exciting connection was that we have several well-known needlework pieces by Prudence Punderson Rossiter. The exact family relationship, if any, is not yet clear; we need to do some additional research. Anyway, my answer to the donor was a very emphatic “Yes!”
Once we had the account book in hand, I noted that the other entries in this account book were equally intriguing. Park made cherry coffins for quite a few individuals. He also made rocking chairs, breakfast and dining tables, fan-back and slat-back chairs, woolen wheels, looms, candle stands, bedsteads, and bureaus. He also mended broken pieces for his customers and could turn new handles for your hoe or rake.
Our furniture collection documents the various styles and the handiwork of furniture makers throughout out state’s history. Furniture can be available for research in our Research Center, which is open Tuesday through Friday, 12:00-5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Making an appointment is suggested but not required.
If needlework is your interest, CHS has an upcoming exhibit “Connecticut Needlework: Women, Art, and Family, 1740-1840” opening on October 5, 2010. In conjunction with the exhibit, we are offering needlework kits based on historic pieces from our collections. A companion book to the exhibition will be available in both hard and soft cover editions. CHS also will hold a one-day conference on October 30, 2010. Please see http://store.chs.org/categories/Needlework for more information.
If you would like to see the account book, ask for Ms 100923 at the Research Center. You may also visit our web site, www.chs.org.