An impressive corner chair is a new addition to our Revolutionary Characters exhibit! This exhibit highlights the daily lives of colonial subjects as they navigated Boston on the cusp of the American Revolution, and uses artifacts and documents to prompt visitors to draw connections to their own daily lives. The corner chair has recently been installed by Kathy Mulvaney, our Director of Education and Exhibitions, in a case on "Colonial Commuters."
In the 1770s, Boston's population was approximately 20,000 and was also full of men and women traveling from towns near and far for work or opportunities. But how does a corner chair tell the story of these commuters? To answer that question, we need to back up a little and explain Representative's Hall, the room within the Old State House where the exhibit is located. As its name suggests, this is the space that the Massachusetts House of Representatives met in from 1713 until 1774. Over one hundred individuals from towns throughout Massachusetts commuted into Boston to participate in legislative sessions that occurred twice a year. The owner of the chair, Timothy Ruggles, was one such commuter, serving in the House of Representatives from 1754 until 1770.
Ruggles lived in Hardwick, Massachusetts and left the comforts of home behind when he commuted into Boston. One of these comforts was this fashionable three-legged corner chair, made of mahogany and with a leather seat. The 18th century chair is in the Queen Anne style, in a design that was imported from England and was popular in the colonies between 1725 and 1760. The Society received the chair as a donation from Mr. S. R. Ruggles in 1945 and we are excited for the opportunity to have it on display.
Stop into the Old State House to see this chair in person, along with the other artifacts in our Revolutionary Characters exhibit. And stay tuned to the blog - in a future post, Nat Sheidley, our Historian and Director of Public History, will dig deeper into the interesting story of Timothy Ruggles.