American Decorative Arts

Chest with drawer


Stiles, rails, front and side panels, cleats, drawer runners, front, and sides, white oak; top, back panel, chest bottom, drawer back and bottom, southern yellow pine

34 5/8 x 45 11/16 x 20 5/8 in. (87.9 x 116 x 52.4 cm) other (Case): 42 3/8 x 19 15/16 in.(107.7 x 50.6 cm)
Gift of C. Sanford Bull, B.A. 1893
17th–18th century
Made in Connecticut Valley
By appointment

Although this chest was believed to have come from the Parmley family, Luther believed on the basis of the carved initials that it was owned originally by Joanna (Porter) Marsh (1687-ca.1714) of Hadley. Although the 1725 inventory of her husband's estates included a carved chest with a drawer valued at ten shillings, it simply cannot be assumed that this reference relates to the chest now at Yale. The chest was owned in modern times by a Miss Merwin of Durham, Conn., who was the source of the Parmely family tradition; it was acquired by 1928 by C. Sanford Bull, Middlebury, Conn. Gift 1950 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Clair Franklin Luther, The Hadley Chest (Hartford, Conn.: Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1935), 105, fig. 65.

“Living with Antiques: The Connecticut Home of Mr. and Mrs. C. Sanford Bull,” Antiques 45, no. 5 (April 1944): 191, ill.

Helen Comstock, “The C. Sanford Bull Collection of New England Furniture,” Antiques 70 (August 1956): 141, ill.

Helen Comstock, American Furniture: Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century Styles (New York: Viking Press, 1962), n.p., fig. 56.

John T. Kirk, “Sources of Some American Regional Furniture,” Antiques 88, no. 6 (December 1965): 790–1, fig. 3.

The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation, 1973), 195, fig. 4.

Patricia E. Kane, The Seventeenth-Century Furniture of the Connecticut Valley: The Hadley Chest Reappraised, ed. Ian M. G. Quimby (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1975), 114, fig. 59.

Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 81, 97–98, 99, 112, no. 29, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.