Shaker Painted Alphabet Board, Harvard, Massachusetts, 19th century, two long boards set into a blue-painted frame, top row in capital script, lower row in lower case, with numerals, punctuation, the black lettering on white background with two large screw eyes on top, (central molding is broken at left side), ht. 20 1/2, lg. 159 1/2 in.
Provenance: This board was in Erhart Muller's house when he acquired it. The house was formerly a carpenter's shop in the Harvard Shaker Plot. It is believed that it came from the Harvard schoolhouse which had been moved opposite the cemetery. According to Shaker Design, education for Shaker children was provided in each community by adult Believers. The boys attended school in the winter and the girls in summer; each term lasted four months.
Exhibitions: Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, Massachusetts, fall 1988 and fall 2014.
Note: Two other Shaker alphabet boards are known, originally owned by The Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York (now in the collection of Ken Hakuta); one is dated 1825.
The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.