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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


Date Made:ca. 1754
Type:Medical; Container
Materials:silver, wood, shagreen
Place Made:United Kingdom; England
Measurements:overall: 5 3/4 in x 3 in x 1 in; 14.605 cm x 7.62 cm x 2.54 cm
Accession Number:  HD 65.167
Credit Line:Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Harlan Angier

Silver-mounted, shagreen-covered case inscribed on the silver base "Joseph Pynchon / 1754" and "D C" over a foliate scroll on the hinged, silver lid. According a a hand-written note that came with the Case: "History of this piece. This piece belonged to Hon. Joseph Pynchon of Mass, son of Col. John Pynchon of Springfield Mass. Besides being a preacher he practiced medicine. He graduated from Harvard University in 1726. He married the widow of Rev. Cheney of Brookfield Mass and daugther of Rev. John Cotton of Newton Mass. He used this piece to carry certain medical instruments. There is a Statue in honor of his father Col Pynchon of Springfield Mass." According to Harvard records: "Joseph Pynchon, the son of Col. John and Bathshua (Taylor) Pynchon, was born in Springfield, 8 February, 1704-5. Graduating from the College in 1726, he was made Librarian in the year in which he received his second degree, and served one year (1729-30). He studied both medicine and divinity, and although he preached at times, he had no regular settlement, and was better known as a physician than as a preacher. Settling first in Longmeadow, he may have been the Joseph Pynchon who was a selectman of Springfield in 1747. From 1747 to 1759 he was a member of the council of the Colony. He married, 13 October, 1748, Mary, widow of Rev. Thomas Cheney of Brookfield, and daughter of Rev. John Cotton of Newton. Shortly afterwards he removed to Boston, where he seems to have passed the remainder of his life. Little is known of him; he is referred to as a "physician in Boston" by Belknap, but it was Dr. Charles Pynchon who attained some fame for his able and generous work among the poor of Boston during the small-pox epidemic of 1764. Dr. Joseph Pynchon is mentioned in the town records occasionally as being on the various committees to visit the Boston schools. His death occurred in October, 1765. By his will, dated 5 October and admitted to probate the 25th of that month, he left his entire estate (consisting in part of five farms in western New Hampshire, one farm in Weston, and lands in Brookfield) to his four minor daughters, over whom his brothers Edward and Charles were appointed guardians. His wife had died previously."

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