2022 | 2023 VOL 43 | 44

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Research Note: Icons of American Memory? John Smith’s Maps of Virginia and New England

Cassandra Britt Farrell

John Smith’s maps of Virginia and New England have stood out as important pieces of colonial American history, particularly as they relate to their distinctive regions (Figure 1 and Figure 2). The maps were first published in 1612 and 1616, respectively. To European cultures, the representations of Powhatan’s village and Virginia’s Algonquin population on Smith’s map of Virginia became symbolic of America’s original inhabitants. Many mapmakers, map-sellers, and booksellers of the seventeenth century and thereafter liberally reproduced images found on the map. Smith’s map of Virginia’s Tidewater region was considered the seminal representation of the colony until John Senex published his map of Virginia in the late seventeenth century (Figure 3). Smith’s chart of New England’s coastline is likewise one of the foundational charts of that region’s cartography.[1] Smith’s map is the first time that “New England” was published in reference to lands north of Virginia. The map was used to promote … Continued

Peter Oliver: Revisiting and Reassessing the Life of a Moravian African American Potter

Geoff Hughes

A funeral was held in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina in the afternoon of 30 September 1810. The service marked the passing of an esteemed community member, Peter Oliver. Born into enslavement, Peter Oliver became a skilled craftsman and purchased his freedom. Much of the work he undertook to achieve emancipation took place in the pottery workshops of Salem and the nearby town of Bethabara, making him one of the only documented African American potters in the Moravian’s North Carolina communities (collectively known as Wachovia) (Figures 1 and 2). During his lifetime, Peter Oliver was accepted into Salem’s Moravian congregation as a communicant member, a significant achievement integral to securing his freedom. His funeral and the procession that followed were noteworthy in its multiracial character amid an increasingly segregated American South. According to church records, “a large number of Negroes attended, and they were given the front benches” … Continued

The Prichard-Correll Piano: Amateur Piano Making and Rural Gentility in Piedmont North Carolina

Alexandra Cade

In rural antebellum America, a curious convergence of piano production and exuberant creativity inspired craftspeople with little to no formal training to create their own keyboard instruments. Amateur-made instruments deviate from professional norms, yet often display aesthetic influences from conventional piano forms and showcase creative solutions to the construction of intricate mechanisms that comprised some of the most complex technology extant in the early nineteenth century. Once dismissed by most experts for their odd qualities, surviving instruments and archival materials document a numerically small tradition of amateurism within American keyboard instrument craft. This article explores the intersection of cabinetmaking traditions, female accomplishment, and the musical environment of rural North Carolina as reflected in the production of an amateur-made piano crafted by David Prichard of Iredell County, North Carolina. While piano making falls under the broad category of the woodworking trades, the skills required for the production of keyboard instruments are more … Continued

Thomas Chittum, Cabinetmaker, Lexington, Virginia: His Shop, Product, and Client Accounts, 1839–1852

J. Christian Kolbe

  The focus of this article is the 125 outstanding client accounts from 1839 to 1852 of Rockbridge County, Virginia, cabinetmaker Thomas G. Chittum. The client accounts are found in the 1855 Rockbridge County chancery court case John D. Camden vs. Thomas G. Chittum, Etc. The case has been digitized and may be accessed online through the Library of Virginia’s Chancery Records Index.[1] This article will analyze the client accounts to understand Chittum’s furniture production, look at his connection with other craftsmen, and provide a list of customers. Analysis of the accounts will add to the relatively few published resources and contextualize the cabinetmaking business in this part of the Valley of Virginia (Figures 1 and 2).[2]   Early Life Before examining the client accounts it is necessary to understand Chittum’s career and the socioeconomic environment in which he worked. Thomas G. Chittum was born in 1805 in Goochland County, … Continued

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