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Shaker Museum

Box, Storage

Oval box made by Brother William Perkins for Sister Emily Offord, Mount Lebanon, NY

Object ID:
New York, Mount Lebanon
Perkins, William (1861-1934)

Maple oval box (a) and lid (b) rims. Two swallow-tails on the box, and one on the lid, secured by copper nails. White pine top and bottom headers. "EM Offord" carved on the lid, the first letters interwoven and overlapping.


As efficient and convenient storage containers, oval boxes played an integral role in the management of space and objects in Shaker communities. While penciled inscriptions or initials are common on oval boxes, those with carved lids are rare. This box belonged to Emily Offord (1847-1896), who lived at the Upper Canaan Family, Mount Lebanon. In addition to the stylized initials carved on the lid, the bottom of the box bears the penciled inscription "Emily Offord/ June 14,1869." The significance of that date is not known; though the box probably predates the lid, Brother William did not join the Shakers until about 1890, and it does not correspond to the birth or death dates of Sister Emily. Nonetheless, it was clearly a fine gift.

New York Mount Lebanon

New York Mount Lebanon

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Copyright of this artwork Citation rules

Citation rules

Shaker Museum Box, Storage. Accessed on February 22, 2024


Inscribed (temporary exhibition)


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Shane Rothe

Curatorial Associate

Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.