In This Issue:

  • “Finding” John Hancock: Chairs, History and a Two-Year Search
  • Antiques are Family: A Grandfather’s Stories
  • Family Ties: When Ephemera and Genealogy Come Together
  • How Does Your Garden Flow

And much more…


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In My Opinion

John Fiske

Collecting Stories

John Fiske 

I always enjoy talking with collectors about their collections, so I was really happy to reread our features this month before sending them up to the press shop. What rang a bell with me was something that that these three collectors had in common with the multitudes I’ve talked with over the years: the objects in the collection almost always led to conversations about people. For antiques collectors, things and people inevitably go together. As Frank Sinatra pointed out so persuasively, “This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the o-other!” In museums, by way of contrast, things stand by themselves – with perhaps an acknowledgement of their donor/collector, but no personal narrative.


“Finding” John Hancock
Chairs, history and a two-year search

Scott Berube

Being a hunter, picker and collector of all things old and interesting, I also enjoy a good story of the “find.” A couple of years ago, I made a good find, one that got me really excited. Going to auctions and estate sales is something that gets in your blood and never gets old. In my case, it surfaced early on in my life at the age of eight or so when I started with my uncle digging for old bottles on an old farm in Massachusetts. I am now in my fifties and after a 35-year career in the building trades and other endeavors, the prospect of going to an auction in New England still inspires me in the same way that it inspires many of you: Today might be the day I make the “find.” When I told John Fiske about my “good find,” he suggested that I write up the story for the New England Antiques Journal. So here is my tale of “finding” seven Hepplewhite shield-back chairs that I finally identified as having been owned by John Hancock at his death in Boston 1793.


Antiques are Family
A grandfather’s stories

Allen G. Shepherd

How is it that in some families, antiques seem often to pass naturally from one generation to the next? Mine is one such family and thus in my reflections on that leading question I turn for illustrative purposes to the family and the antiques I know best — my own.


Family Ties
When ephemera and genealogy come together

John G. Sayers

If you’ve been a student of genealogy for an extended period of time, you’ll remember the “good old days” when you had to travel to look at records or hire a researcher living near the resource you sought, sometimes at considerable cost and with no guarantee of useful results. Of course, you could also inquire at a potential source using snail-mail.


How Does Your Garden Flow?
Fountains at Longwood Gardens re-open for “Summer of Spectacle”

Barbara Miller Beem

What happens when technology and engineering combine with a generous dash of theatrics, music from the ages and a whole lot of water? When beautiful music provides the soundtrack for an aquatic ballet with spinning and twirling, all in an endless array of color? At Longwood Gardens, a “Summer of Spectacle” continues to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Main Fountain Garden, doing Pierre duPont, American entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist and member of the prominent duPont family, proud.


Yours Sincerely

John Fiske

I’ve been a bad boy, and the town’s Conservation Commission has called me on it. Like everyone else who moors their boat on our stretch of the river, I’ve been keeping my dinghy pulled up on the bank. The bank has been slowly but steadily eroding for many years, and the Conservation Commission has decided that it’s gone far enough. Part of its anti-erosion plan is to ban dinghies from the bank. It’s hard to say how much of the erosion has been caused by the dinghies – but I take their point, and I have happily found another way of getting to our boat. It’s a bit less convenient, but it stops me feeling guilty about contributing to any erosion, about which I feel pretty strongly about despite the shameful history of me, my dinghy and the riverbank.



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