Paperback / softback
February 24, 2020
9781421436050
English
314
56
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.94 Pounds (US)
$45.00 USD, £33.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
February 24, 2020
9781421436067
9780801852534
English
314
56
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$45.00 USD, £33.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Making Furniture in Preindustrial America

The Social Economy of Newtown and Woodbury, Connecticut

Originally published in 1996. In Making Furniture in Preindustrial America Edward S. Cooke Jr. offers a fresh and appealing cross-disciplinary study of the furnituremakers, social structure, household possessions, and surviving pieces of furniture of two neighboring New England communities. Drawing on both documentary and artifactual sources, Cooke explores the interplay among producer, process, and style in demonstrating why and how the social economies of these two seemingly similar towns differed significantly during the late colonial and early national periods.

Throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century, Cooke explains, the yeoman town of Newtown relied on native joiners whose work satisfied the expectations of their fellow townspeople. These traditionalists combined craftwork with farming and made relatively plain, conservative furniture. By contrast, the typical joiner in the neighboring gentry town of Woodbury was the immigrant innovator. Born and raised elsewhere in Connecticut and serving a diverse clientele, these craftsmen were free of the cultural constraints that affected their Newtown contemporaries. Relying almost entirely on furnituremaking for their livelihood, they were free to pay greater attention to stylistically sensitive features than to mere function.

About the Author

Edward S. Cooke, Jr. is Charles F. Montgomery Associate Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University. He wrote the exhibition catalog for New American Furniture: Second Generation Studio Furnituremakers, edited and contributed to Upholstery in America and Europe from the 17th Century to World War I, and contributed to Furniture by Wendell Castle, Contemporary Crafts and the Saxe Collection, Conservation by Design, The Ideal Home 1900-1920 and "The Art that is Life": The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920.

Reviews

"Edward S. Cooke has written an exhaustive and sophisticated interdisciplinary study comparing and contrasting the 'social economy' of furniture and furniture makers in two western Connecticut communities... Cooke has combined the social and economic historians research in traditional records with material culture's analysis of artifacts. The synthesis is certainly more than the sum of its parts... Thoughtful and challenging."

- H. Roger King - History
Johns Hopkins University Press
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