Quilts, Costumes, and More!

Last week I had the kind of day that I simply adore!  They come around rarely, but when they do, I enjoy them so immensely.  It was last Thursday and Lynne Bassett came to research in our collection for a very special presentation / program she is involved with here at CHS.  And that meant we spent an entire day pulling out quilts, costumes, fabric fragments, incomplete quilt blocks, textile sample books, and everything else we could think of that might help in her program…


Wholecloth Quilt. 1750-1775. Gift of Mrs. Sophia Burdick. 1963.11.17.

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A previously unknown Connecticut furniture maker discovered

When the initial query came about our interest in

The entry for the sampler frame is featured here.

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!”

Page 7 of the account book shows the variety of furniture he made.

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.