The Cabinetmaker's Account with Jay Robert Stiefel
Wednesday, February 27, 2019  6:00 PM
Read House & Gardens, National Historic Landmark -


The Cabinetmaker's Account by Jay Robert StiefelJoin us at the Read House & Gardens for an evening with historian Jay Robert Stiefel as he presents his new book, The Cabinetmaker's Account: John Head's Record of Craft & Commerce in Colonial Philadelphia, 1718–1753 (American Philosophical Society Press, 2019).

English joiner John Head immigrated to Philadelphia in 1717 and became one of its most successful artisans and merchants. However, Head's prominence had been lost to history until Jay Stiefel's serendipitous discovery of his account book at the American Philosophical Society Library. Head’s account book is the earliest and most complete to have survived from any cabinetmaker working in British North America or in Great Britain.

Stiefel’s definitive interpretation of the account book and his other discoveries fill documentary voids in the lives and trades of Colonial Philadelphia’s middling classes, giving voice to those often overlooked in more traditional studies. His book, published by APS, is in large format with 320 pages, 100 mostly color illustrations, a comprehensive index, and biographical data.

Jay Robert Stiefel is an authority on the crafts and commerce of Colonial Philadelphia and the institutions founded by Franklin for the welfare of its tradesmen. A native of that city, he studied history at the University of Pennsylvania and Christ Church, Oxford. Stiefel's writings and lectures on social history have restored to the historical record many early craftsmen, artists, and merchants whose prominence had been obscured by the passage of time.

FREE program.

Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Registration for 6:00 p.m. program.

A special FREE house tour will be available at 5:00 to guests who register for it. Tour space is limited to 24.
Please note: 5:00 p.m. tour is filled to capacity; thank you for your interest.


Read House & Gardens, National Historic Landmark


Read House & Gardens
42 The Strand
New Castle, Delaware 19720
(302) 322-8411

On the New Castle riverfront, in the heart of the old city, the twenty-two room, 14,000-square-foot National Historic Landmark Read House dominates the streetscape with a monumental simplicity and distinctive Philadelphia architectural style. Designed for George Read II, son of a Delaware signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the house combined innovative Federal period design and advanced technological systems to create comfort and refinement.

Outside formal gardens installed in 1848 provided enjoyment for the late nineteenth and early twentieth century residents and continue to delight visitors today. Beneath the soil the layered history of Delaware's earliest inhabitants and settlers survives. Their story unfolds through ongoing archaeology on the property.


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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.