This website was written by the students of Professor Ellery Foutch’s Winter 2018 Middlebury College course, American Studies 1017: Material Culture in Focus. It explores a “relic chair” built by Middlebury resident and amateur historian Henry Luther Sheldon in 1884. While the chair’s general structure resembles an eclectic comb-back Windsor chair, the spindles of the upper two rows have been carefully turned on a lathe to undulate with gentle curves and swells. Each of these spindles derives from a different site of local or historical significance: from Old Ironsides to the local church steeple, the town whipping post to former President Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop.
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