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Cradle made by Dexter Marsh

zoomable artifact image here

Dexter Marsh had a reputation for exactitude and good work, so it is likely that he did not often make mistakes like the one on the cradle he built for his second son, George, born in December 1840. The decorative stencil includes an eagle, already long established as a national symbol, and clearly the sentiment cherishing independence appealed to the hard-working Dexter. That the cradle rocks end-to-end instead of side-to-side could be interpreted as a personal view of the best way to rock a baby to sleep, but surely he did not mean to use the stencil backward, so that the motto “INDEPENDENCE” appears as “ECNEDNEPEDNI” between the eagle's wings!

The acquisition year indicates that George Marsh donated the cradle along with other items and papers honoring his father in 1907. 

Creator:
Dexter Marsh
Date:
1840
Dimensions:
length 37.5" x width 19.25" x height 20"
Materials:
painted wood
Accession #:
1907.08.02
Courtesy of:
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association/Memorial Hall Museum