How did English craftsmen adapt to New World conditions in 17th-century New England?
When English craftsmen settled in the Northeast, they brought with them a furniture making tradition that was centuries old. But they were faced with a wholly new environment. Whereas in England, furniture makers faced a scarcity of materials and an abundance of available labor, the opposite was true in New England where there were few craftsmen and abundant materials. Within seven decades, the craftsmen in New England were leaving behind a world of medieval joinery and entering the new world of commerce, international trade, and an increasing reliance on technology.
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About the Speaker
Nancy Carlisle is Senior Curator of Collections at Historic New England where she has worked for more than thirty years. Through her research, writings, and public programs, she uses stories drawn from the collections to engage people in a deeper understanding of their own histories. She is the author of the award-winning book Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy and the co-author with Melinda Nasardinov of America’s Kitchens. Ms. Carlisle has written and lectured widely on the material culture of domestic life from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first.