From Forest to Foyer: Rhode Island and the Mahogany Trade in the 18th Century exhibit talk with Jennifer Anderson

  • July 9, 2024 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
  • John Brown House Museum

    52 Power Street
    Providence, Rhode Island 02906
Ticket Price Free Join the waitlist

The Rhode Island Historical Society will host a talk on Tuesday, July 9th, at 5:30 p.m., with Professor Jennifer Anderson on her book Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America, the basis of a new exhibit at the John Brown House Museum.

In the 18th century, mahogany furniture became all the rage in colonial America. Extracting this tropical wood from far-off rainforests, however, proved exceedingly difficult. Interweaving the stories of merchants, sea captains, enslaved woodcutters, cabinetmakers, and consumers, this talk illuminates the human and ecological strife of the mahogany trade. Additionally, the talk will also look at how Anderson adapted her book into the inaugural exhibit of the John Brown House Museum’s reinterpretation.

Prof. Jennifer Anderson specializes in early American, Caribbean, and Atlantic history. She has a PhD from New York University, an MA from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, and a BA from Barnard College. She is the author of Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America (2012), about the cultural and environmental impacts of the tropical timber trade in the Caribbean, Central America, and colonial North America. She is currently working on a new book about labor relations, changing land uses, and the roots of inequality on Long Island. She’s received numerous fellowships and awards, including from the Society of American Historians, the Mellon Foundation, and the American Society for Learned Societies. In 2009, she shared an Emmy nomination for research on the documentary “Traces of the Trade.” Her more recent projects include curating an exhibition about Sylvester Manor (a former plantation on Shelter Island) and advising on Long Island Museum’s groundbreaking exhibition, Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island (2019) and Preservation Long Island’s Jupiter Hammon Project. In addition, she’s served as a historical consultant to over a dozen museums and historic sites in the tri-state region.

Date & Time

Tue, Jul 9, 2024 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Venue Details

John Brown House Museum

52 Power Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906 John Brown House Museum
Rhode Island Historical Society

The Rhode Island Historical Society, the state's oldest and only statewide historical organization, is dedicated to honoring, interpreting and sharing Rhode Island's past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st  -century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, it is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center and the Aldrich House.

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