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Maker(s):Little, William Coffin
Culture:American (1745-1816)
Date Made:1780-1800
Type:Food Service
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Newburyport or Amesport
Measurements:overall: 8 3/8 x 1 7/8 in.; 21.2725 x 4.7625 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2001.53.89
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. Harold G. Duckworth
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Silver tablespoon with an elliptical bowl stamped with a thirteen-lobed shell on back and upturned ribbed and rounded handle, which is marked "W.L" in an oval on the stem for William Coffin Little (1745-1816), and engraved with the initials "N/A*M" in block letters on back of handle. The son of John Little (1721-1799) a teamster of Newburyport, and Temperance Kipp Little (1725-1762), Little first appears in print in a notice in the Newburyport "Essex Journal" in August 18, 1775 referring to stolen silver for which he was trying to find the owner. Around 1790, he and his family moved to Amesbury, Mass., where he worked for ten years until moving to Salisbury, NH. in 1801, where he farmed until his death. One of his sons, William (1771-1836), became a silversmith and practiced in Philadelphia. According to Gerald W. R. Ward in Patricia Kane's, "Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers": "A number of spoons and other small objects have been attributed to a William Little, working ca. 1725 to ca. 1775. Because there is no documentary evidence so far identifying a William Little as a Massachusetts goldsmith before 1765, it is suggested here that this earlier William Little did not exist. Spoons marked "W.L", which date stylistically from about 1765 and later, are probably by Williams Coffin Little. They are ornamented with shell drops frequently found on New England spoons. No holloware can be attributed to William Coffin Little. A number of pieces marked "WL" in capitals in a rectangle and "W.L." in a rectangle dating from 1800-1810 may be the work of William Coffin Little or his son."

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