When we consider the symbols of American Freedom a few come to mind like the American Flag, baseball, and the Statue of Liberty. However, there are other objects which hold a story just as complicated and powerful as our standard and national pastime. In this case, it is a card table turned writing desk that belonged to Phillis Wheatley, the first Black poet to publish a book. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, contributor gianofer fields speaks with Sarah Anne Carter, Visiting Executive Director and Assistant professor for the Center of Design and Material Culture at UW-Madison about a fairly common piece of furniture with an uncommon history.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Sarah Anne Carter is the Visiting Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture and visiting Assistant Professor in Design Studies at The School of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World.
Image: Mahogany swinging gate leg folding card table, once the property of Phillis Wheatley. Charlestown, Mass., circa 1760. 72.5 cm x 89 cm x 41.5 cm. Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Photograph by Gavin Ashworth.
This segment comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.