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The New American Invalid Bedstead

“The New American Invalid Bedstead” (1875-1878)
Asahel J. Goodwin, designer
Brookline, Massachusetts
Wood, metal (iron)
Dimensions: 89″ (l) x 32” (d)
Gift of Gershom Bradford, III and Edward Bradford (1968.1.396)  

This invalid bed was purchased in 1885 for the Bradford sisters, by their nephew Gershom Bradford, II. It has been stored in their house in Duxbury since purchase.

Gershom wrote to his sister, Lucia Alden Knapp, explaining the reason for this new purchase: You were quite right in telling me about the aunts and it is high time that some definite arrangement should be made about this lifting business. When I got the invalid bed for them I was delighted at the prospect that lifting could, at least in a great measure, be avoided…” Gershom Bradford, II (College Point, NY) to Lucia A. B. Knapp (Plymouth, MA), Nov. 8, 1885.

One of the Bradford sisters, Elizabeth, had been bedridden as a result of a stroke (she would be bedridden for the last 8 years of her life). The family was concerned that the two remaining sisters, Lucia and Charlotte, were overtaxed in caring for Elizabeth. It was hoped that the invalid bed, with its ability to lift and move the patient, would aid in the care of Elizabeth. There is, however, no record that the bed was ever used.