[originally posted August 2023]
Stickley Museum Director Amanda Clifford is always on the lookout for prized Stickley antiques to add to the museum's collection, and for years she’s been searching for a particularly elusive one. This month Amanda has reason to celebrate, as do our museum visitors! Thanks to her persistent efforts—and a family’s generosity—two rare examples of an early L. & J.G. Stickley collection, Russwood children’s furniture, have arrived in Fayetteville.
The Russwood Story
Not long after Stickley’s successful Handcraft line of Mission furniture was discontinued in the 1920s, Leopold Stickley oversaw the design of the Cherry Valley collection of colonial-style furniture, which went on to be an American best-seller for decades. A sub-collection of Cherry Valley was named Russwood, and it consisted of child-sized maple stools, benches, and a table. Most of these pieces were crafted in 1933 and are marked with that date.
Leopold reached out to local Central New York artist Bill Breck, who had previously worked with Stickley to offer hand-painted tables for select clients. To make the Russwood pieces special, Breck created three animal characters who were then stenciled on to the table and seats: Babs the Cat, Bogsie the Dog, and Angus the Pup, inspired by Leopold’s own dog, Angus. His brief, humorous stories about the characters were stamped on the underside of the benches and stools.
A Generous Gift
Our newly acquired Angus the Pup table and Babs the Cat stool were given to The Stickley Museum in memory of Dr. Carl Mintz, D.D.S., by his children, Susan Mintz Ganulin and Richard Mintz. Dr. Mintz’s daughter tells us that he likely purchased them around 1938 for children to use in the waiting room of his dental office in Far Rockaway, New York, and later in Woodmere, New York. “Many years passed and when our father retired, I took the furniture into my home. Many happy hours were spent by grandchildren using the table and stool. We are happy and grateful knowing that Babs the Cat and Angus the [Pup] have found their “forever home”! My father would be so proud!”
Visit The Stickley Museum to see Angus and Babs for yourself. It’s located at 300 Orchard Street, Fayetteville, New York, on the second floor (enter through the Fayetteville Free Library). Admission is free, and current hours are Tuesdays 9am – 5pm, Fridays 10am – 5pm (May 1 through October 1 only), and Saturdays 10am – 5pm.
Amanda Clifford, Director, The Stickley Museum