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Treasures at the Bradford House: Brock Jobe Lecture

The DRHS was honored to welcome premiere furniture expert Brock Jobe to the Drew Archival Library on the evening of June 18, 2015. Mr. Jobe discussed his current Boston furniture project, using examples from the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society’s Bradford House museum, and all proceeds from the lecture went to the preservation efforts at the museum.  ‪#‎ReimagineBradford‬. PCN covered the event:


The Bradford House was donated to the DRHS in 1968 with many of the family’s furnishings and an extensive supporting archive of documents. Included among these furnishings are a substantial number of Boston-made pieces, which have been of particular interest to Mr. Jobe his colleagues. Mr. Jobe first visited the Bradford House in the 1970s and has featured its furnishings in his various publications, including Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850.

On this evening, he took the assembled audience on a wonderful tour of the treasures at the Bradford House, introducing the Bradford family and emphasizing their connections with broader historical events, including the occupation of Boston by British troops as well as the family’s connection to Boston mercantile families. He then went on to feature about 10 pieces of furniture from the late 18th – mid 19th centuries that he found of particular interest. Several of the pieces featured have designs unique in his experience and others are tied to important makers, like the Seymours of Boston.

During the same week, the DRHS also welcomed the cataloguing team from the Boston Furniture Archive (a project of the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture Collaborative), who worked to document the Bradford House’s Boston-made furniture. This Archive will soon be available online for everyone to enjoy. http://bostonfurniture.winterthur.org

We are grateful to Mr. Jobe for his visit and his enthusiasm as he advocates for the preservation of this building and its tremendous collection.


Brock Jobe is a Professor of American Decorative Arts at Winterthur and has an extensive and impressive resume as one of the nation’s foremost furniture experts. Mr. Jobe has taught graduate courses in historic interiors, decorative arts, and twentieth-century design in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. He assumed the position of professor of American decorative arts in 2000 after a twenty-eight-year career as a museum curator and administrator. His fields of interest are early American furniture and domestic interiors from 1700 to 1900.  He is the co-author of New England Furniture: The Colonial Era (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984), and organizer and editor of Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast (Boston: Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, 1993). In 2009 he, Gary Sullivan, and Jack O’Brien co-authored Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850.  Between 2010 and 2013, Brock helped direct the collaborative project, Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, which united eleven institutions in a celebration of Bay State furniture-making through exhibitions, publications and numerous programs.  He is a recipient of the President’s Award from Old Sturbridge Village and the Award of Merit from the Antiques Dealers’ Association of America.