With its reverse-serpentine facade and scallop shell pendant, the chest-of-drawers offered here is a classic example of North Shore, Massachusetts design in the late eighteenth century. Its construction features, however, are typical of Boston and their presence on this chest suggests the work of a North Shore cabinetmaker familiar with the city's practices. These features include the dovetailing of the top to the case sides and the use of a large dovetail to join the base molding to the bottom boards.
A handwritten inscription in the chest's top drawer places the chest in Newburyport prior to 1875. Reading This chest of drawers was bought in Newburyport and [illeg.] to Philadelphia in 1875 with my parents SME, the note was undoubtedly written by Sarah May Edmonds, the mother of the chest's owner in the early twentieth century, Walter Dumaux Edmonds (b. 1903). Edmonds was born on his father's farm in Boonville, New York and, after graduating from Harvard in 1926, became a writer. He wrote over twenty novels and sixty short stories, focusing on historical narratives of the Mohawk Valley region (Seymour-Smith and Kimmens, eds., World Authors 1900-1950, vol. 2 (New York, 1996), pp. 785-786). The chest has remained in his family until the present day.