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

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.

Individuals can register for this talk here.

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.


Jul 9
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


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The John Brown House Museum
52 Power St
Providence, RI 02906-1012 United States
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(401) 331-8575
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