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Cover image of Making Furniture in Preindustrial America
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Making Furniture in Preindustrial America

The Social Economy of Newtown and Woodbury, Connecticut

Edward S. Cooke, Jr.

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Cooke 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.

Winner of the Decorative Arts Society, Inc.'s Charles F. Montgomery Prize

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…

Cooke 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.

Winner of the Decorative Arts Society, Inc.'s Charles F. Montgomery Prize

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.

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Making Furniture in Preindustrial America

Edward S. Cooke, Jr.

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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.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
314
ISBN
9781421436050
Illustration Description
56 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Tables and Charts
Acknowledgments
Introduction. The Need for the Artis anal Voice
Chapter 1. The Preindustrial Joiner in Western Connecticut, 1760-£820
Chapter 2. The Social Economy of the

List of Tables and Charts
Acknowledgments
Introduction. The Need for the Artis anal Voice
Chapter 1. The Preindustrial Joiner in Western Connecticut, 1760-£820
Chapter 2. The Social Economy of the Preindustrial Joiner
Chapter 3. The Joiners of Newtown and Woodbury
Chapter 4. SocioeconomiSc tructure in Newtown and Woodbury
Chapter 5. Consumer Behavior in Newtown and Woodbury
Chapter 6. Workmanship of Habit: The Furniture of Newtown
Chapter 7. Workmanship of Competition: The Furniture of Woodbury
Conclusion. The Response to Market Capitalism
Appendix A. Biographies of Newtown Joiners, 1760-£820
Appendix B. Biographies of Woodbury Joiners, I 760-r 820
Notes
Glossary of Furniture Terms
Note on Sources and Methods
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Edward S. Cooke, Jr.

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...