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Historic New England awards twenty-fifth Book Prize

Oct 3, 2019


The twenty-fifth annual Historic New England Book Prize goes to Rather Elegant Than Showy: The Classical Furniture of Isaac Vose by Robert D. Mussey Jr. and Clark Pearce.

Cover of Rather Elegant Than Showy

In addition, Historic New England selected two Honor Books for recognition this year: Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era by Kimberly S. Alexander and A Story of Maine in 112 Objects: From Prehistory to Modern Times, as told through the collections of the Maine State Museum, edited by Bernard P. Fishman.

Rather Elegant Than Showy traces the journey of furniture historians Robert D. Mussey Jr. and Clark Pearce to rediscover Isaac Vose and the fine furniture made in his shop. The gorgeously illustrated book gathers together the known works of Vose as well as those attributed to him. The authors hope Vose’s work will be recognized for its outstanding contribution to American furniture studies.

Treasures Afoot introduces readers to the history of the Georgian shoe. Presenting a series of stories that reveal how shoes were made, sold, and worn during the eighteenth century, and how footwear was altered to accommodate the wearer’s health, finances, and changing styles, Alexander takes readers on a colorful journey from bustling London streets into ship cargo holds, New England shops, and, ultimately, to the homes of consumers.

A Story of Maine in 112 Objects creates a mosaic of the land and its inhabitants from prehistory to today. Museum curators and contributors have woven stories around each item from a mastodon tooth to a seventeenth-century toy boat to an L.L. Bean boot.

See a complete list of past Book Prize winners

About the Book Prize

Historic New England’s Book Prize is awarded annually to a book that advances the understanding of life in New England from the past to today by examining its architecture, landscape, and material culture. This also includes works in the decorative arts, archaeology, historic preservation, the history of photography, and other related subjects.