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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:American
Title:cradle
Date Made:1730-1780
Type:Bedding; Furniture
Materials:wood: sycamore, hard pine, oak, maple (possibly)
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Deerfield
Measurements:Overall: 27 1/4 in x 33 1/2 in x 59 in; 69.2 cm x 85.1 cm x 149.9 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2011.14.6
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund
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Description:
Adult cradle which descended in the Hawks family of Deerfield. A carpenter, perhaps John Hawks (1641-after 1721) or another member of the extended Hawks family of Deerfield, fashioned this adult cradle out of salvaged mill-sawn planks nailed to the posts of an earlier open infant cradle probably made between 1680 and 1720. The footboard, embellished with molded decoration and red-brown paint, may have been part of the original cradle. One of the side boards retains a tawny, pinkish coat of paint from its previous (undetermined) use. The upper ends of the posts are decorated with red paint, added at a later date. The maker nailed new rockers to the bottoms of the posts, leaving exposed the tenons that had been fitted into mortises in the original rockers. A rare survival of the once common form of the adult cradle—and an excellent example of a “make-do ”created from recycled furniture—this cradle provides evidence of nailed board furniture that offered consumers a less expensive alternative to joined furniture such as the frame-and-paneled, hooded cradle that Springfield resident John Pynchon Jr. (1647-1721) may have commissioned between 1679 and 1700 for his family (his first child, Margaret, was born in 1679). Adult cradles provided comfort for sick and infirm older children and adults. This Hawks family adult cradle was found in the attic of the family’s home in the Wapping section of Deerfield, built by Eliezer Hawks (1693-1774) in 1764 and substantially enlarged by his grandson, Quartus Hawks (1778-1842) in 1815. The cradle passed down in the family to Mary Hawks (1924?-2011), the last family member to live in the house. The probable line of descent included Eliezer Hawks (1693-1774) and Abigail Wells Hawks (d.1768). Eliezer was the son of Eliezer Hawks (1655-1727) and Judith Smead Hawks (d.1718/19) and grandson of John Hawks (born ca. 1617 in England) and Elizabeth Browne Hawks. Note: Eliezer’s brother, Deerfield resident, John Hawks (1641-after 1721), a carpenter by trade, may have made the infant cradle. He obtained the town contract to finish the meetinghouse in 1696. Then to Paul Hawks (1736-1819) and Lois Wait Hawks (d.1810), Hatfield, MA; to Quartus Hawks (1778-1842) and Sarah Allis Hawks (1787-1873), m. 1808; to Horatio Hawks (1819-1865) and Mary Ann Allen Hawks (b. 1823), m. 1843; to Dwight Allis Hawks (1848-1928) and Ella J. Mansfield Hawks (born c.1851, Hawley, MA), m. 1879; to Paul Hawks (1891-1968) and Jessie Mildred Lowe Hawks, m. 1923; to Mary Hawks (d. 2011).

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