All posts by Laurel Sneed

The Hidden History of Thomas Day, update, May 2013

To download the Hidden History of Thomas Day: Thomas Day 2013

If the link opens to an online pdf js version, you will see in the upper right corner a button for opening the file with a different version of Reader. If you have feedback to this article or if you would like to learn more about the Thomas Day Education Project or the Apprend Foundation, let us hear from you.

The Hidden History of Thomas Day by Laurel C. Sneed and Patricia Dane Rogers, originally published in June 2009 with a generous grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, was updated in May 2013 to reflect some new research findings.


Past Participant Quotes

“Like Thomas Day whose handmade chairs were not just utilitarian but were also skillfully put together with beauty and care, the organizers of this program did not just put on a workshop; they nurtured it, filling it with passion, thoughtfulness, and sophistication. This love of their craft was demonstrated throughout.”

“It was such a deep and rich experience that I’m still processing it…I think the humanities may be the key to teaching history — allowing students to respond to works of art or primary source narratives as a way of getting a grasp on history.”

“I am most excited by the substantial background information on the history of slavery in this country. I had little knowledge and could not help teachers or students undertake learning in a meaningful way. I was uncomfortable with this history, as are many teachers, but the immersion in substance has given me the confidence to incorporate it in the curriculum in a way that will not make African American students feel demeaned or white students feel guilty.”

“I really felt that every minute was extremely well programmed and worthwhile. We were treated like royalty in a way–there was so much respect shown to us as educators.”

“This was a very valuable program. It combined theory with biography, activities with field trips – a good model of what should happen in the classroom.”

“What a fabulous opportunity! The more I learned the more I realized that I needed to learn. I realize now that there is so much new information on this subject that I did not have, nor was I even aware of.”

Identifying Thomas Day Furniture

There is not yet an absolute way of identifying a piece of Thomas Day furniture short of having the bill of sale with Thomas Day’s name on it. There is one instance we are aware of where the initials TD appeared on the back of a large sideboard he made but that is rare. He incorporated many of the fashionable styles and designs of the day in the furniture he produced, yet often put these elements together in a unique, “improvisational” way. If you believe you may have a piece of Thomas Day furniture, here are some things to look for:

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