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The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association acquired this chair in 1926 with the colorful history that it had originally been owned by Martha Washington and later given to John Hancock. The chair's style and construction, however, suggests it postdates the Washingtons' and Hancock's lifetimes.


Ladder-back rocking chair with three, flat-arched slats between two ring-turned, cylindrical stiles or back posts with spool-and-urn finials, baluster-and-taper-turned arms, a herringbone, double-woven splint seat, and ring-turned and tapered front legs joined by double box stretchers and seated in narrow rockers. Faint lines are inscribed around the back posts to mark the placement of the stretchers, slats, arms, and seat. The arms extend through the back posts, and that on the proper left side is secured with a square peg. They are supported on cylindrical arm posts that are screwed into the upper stretchers on each side and secured with a domed wooden peg through the top of the arm. The legs extend through the rockers and secured on the side of the rockers with small, square wooden pegs. The stretcher support consists of a single-swell stretcher with three pairs of incised lines at front above a plain, cylindrical stretcher, two plain, cylindrical stretchers on the sides, and a single, plain, cylindrical stretcher at back mounted at the level of the lower side stretchers.





Beech (back posts), cherry (slats), oak (arms and armposts), oak splint (seat)


Overall (H x W x D): 33 5/8 in. x 18 7/8 in. x 23 in. (85.41 cm x 47.94 cm x 58.42 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1926

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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