Hannah Bernard's Cupboard Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  780 Words
Date:  2022-11-07

Earliest American-made furniture traces back to the mid-17th century when the colonies were recording more settlements. Hannah's cupboard was made from a group of chests known as Hadley's chests with dates to 1710-1715. The hardly were the largest identified group of American Furniture. The cupboard was in fashion in 1715 but got out of style until 1880 when it was rediscovered by the American Furniture collectors (ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, n.d.) Hannah's cupboard is extraordinary as it was made for a woman and importantly features her name. The cupboard held newlywed Hannah Barnard's precious household belongings. Apart from offering storage space, the splendidly decorated cupboard signified Hannah's wealth and prestige and functioned as a pulsating artwork in her Hadley, Massachusetts home. Early Hadley chests including Hannah Barnard's cupboard had names marked on them for different significant reasons that gave historians different motives to find out intentions behind the markings such as societal status, transfer of movable objects and the history of ownership.

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Inscriptions on a chest of the book helped set the difference in the people with their ownership. Hannah Barnard's cupboard looks like straight Roman letters from a distance with very small curls at the tips. On Hannah's cupboard, a symbol of a woman, a writing master and a text that is neatly printed stands at the middle of the opening that looks like a window. Hannah's name on the cupboard affirms her identity as an educated woman with a lot of wealth that was inherited and an ambitious family. The cupboard marking on the cupboard was used to show the fragility of life and the short-lived identity of women

There existed an opportunity for people including Hannah to attach names on the movable furniture because the stock of such similar furniture was fast growing in Connecticut Valley and many other parts of England. Marked objects appear everywhere, but the ownership took different forms for women and men. Marked objects had started appearing everywhere in England and America taking various forms. For example, in Germany, the furniture was marked with names of married couples as compared to other countries where they were labeled with individual names. People marked movable stock in the time as a result of the increase in such similar stock in many places.

There was a rising number of learned women in the society therefore many including Hannah decided to engrave their names from properties that they had inherited from their husbands for remembrance. Anne Bradstreet among other women stamped words that read "When this you see remember me, That I won't be forgotten" (Hoffman et al. 271). The growth of these marked objects in England and America was as a result of the social revolution that helped drive the commercial revolution. The method of marking furniture that varied in different countries could have been a way to outfitting women for marriage (p.272). Later in the eighteenth century, women's initial on furniture was faced out and the introduction of furniture with no names on them. This must have given greater freedom to buy the items at the same time offering anonymity for women.

Historians analyze ordinary objects such as the cupboard to find out hidden significance that such furniture hold. The early markings and furniture designs transformed into great artwork that gave people the chance to focus on the characteristics of the era that they were developed and the reasons behind rather than focusing on the appearances. Hannah's cupboard brings out the fact that in a world where everything was assumed or owned by men, some were owned by the women. Additionally, it is of significant value that the historian's sturdy objects such as the cupboard since it brings the connections of these items with time.


In conclusion, the old Hadley chests had names marked on them for different important reasons that gave historians different motives to find out intentions behind the markings. The inscriptions on furniture in the early 18th century helped set the different kinds of ownership. Additionally, the opportunity to attach names of movable objects was also a fueling factor for Hannah to mark her name on the cupboard. Finally, the reason behind women engraving their names to achieve relevance in the society was a possible reason why Hannah printed her name on the cupboard. It is of significant value that the historian's study objects such as the cupboard as they connect the objects with the past time's events

Works Cited

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. (n.d.). Appraisal: Carved Hadley Chest, ca. 1710 | Antiques Roadshow [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/video/antiques-roadshow-appraisal-carved-hadley-chest-ca-1710/

Hoffman, Ronald, Mechal Sobel, and Fredrika J. Teute, eds. Through a Glass Darkly: Reflections on Personal Identity in Early America. UNC Press Books, 1997.

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Hannah Bernard's Cupboard Essay Example. (2022, Nov 07). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/hannah-bernards-cupboard-essay-example

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