Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection of Folk Art

SKU: 978-0300247565

Complimentary Gift Message Available

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title


Celebrating two collectors’ passion for Americana and the window it provides into the everyday beauty of the past.

Becoming America offers a multifaceted view of one of the foremost collections of 18th- and 19th-century American folk and decorative art from the rural Northeast. Essays by leading specialists discuss the culture of furniture workshops, exuberant painted decoration, techniques of sewing and quilting, and poignant stories about the families depicted in the portraits. The collection itself includes Shaker boxes, a beaded Iroquois hat, embroidered samplers, metalwork, scrimshaw, handwoven rugs, ceramics, and a weather vane. The majority of these works have never before been published. With lively essays and profuse illustrations, this handsome volume brings to life the aesthetic of early Americans living in the countryside and is an essential exploration of the period’s taste and style.

This book is the catalogue for the ongoing exhibition Becoming America, on view in the Fielding Wing of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

 James Glisson is the former Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art at The Huntington. 


From a review by The Magazine Antiques:

Stacy Hollander, former curator at the American Folk Art Museum, surveys themes in landscape and still-life painting in early America, while independent curator Robin Jaffee Frank closely examines three family portraits in the Fielding collection. Elizabeth V. Warren sorts through the textiles, which range from quilts and samplers to hooked rugs and beadwork. Virginia antiquarian Sumpter Priddy offers an illuminating look at the “fancy” painting style and the kaleidoscope motif in early American design. There’s also an engaging interview with antiques dealer David Wheatcroft, who served as the Fieldings’ Sacagawea in the world of American folk art, about the building of the collection and the methods he uses to weigh the merits and defects of antiques. Perhaps the most affecting essay comes from Yale historian John Demos. It’s ostensibly a kind of primer on early American furniture, but Demos goes beyond details of the making and the stylistic attributes of the chests and chairs under discussion to examine their significance and what it means to collect them.

From a review by Antiques and The Arts Weekly:

“The most compelling objects in the Fielding collection are the most humble, primitive lighting and hearth equipment made extraordinary by everyday Americans with the kind of imagination and initiative that, writ large, built this country.”

From a review in Art & Object:

Becoming America takes us through how Americans shaped their new country and recorded their lives through their artistry and craftsmanship. Be it everyday objects like quilts and furniture, or portraits and still lives, Americans have always forged new identities and told their stories through beautiful objects.

Gift Wrap

We offer our signature gift packaging for many items. This is noted with each item, please check the box in your cart to choose it. A complimentary gift message is available for ALL purchases.

Shipping Information

In-stock orders ship within three business days of purchase. Our standard shipping is via ground with USPS or UPS. For those last minute purchases we do offer Express Shipping. Please choose your shipping preference when checking out.

We will contact you immediately if anything in your order is out of stock or back-ordered.

Heavy and oversize items may require special charges.

International Orders: Yes! We are happy to ship to you. Please contact us for shipping/handling charges, and allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. International order recipients are responsible for paying duties and taxes on items. Please note that only products under 42 in. in length will be shipped overseas.

Pick Up In Store: We offer in store pick up for your convenience. If you live locally or plan on coming our way, you can have your order ready and waiting for you at the Huntington Store, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.


If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it within 30 days.

Merchandise may be returned to the Huntington Store during regular store hours with an original receipt. Gift Cards, Seasonal, Clearance, Calendars, Used, Worn, Food, Teas, and Estate and Trunk Show Merchandise are Non-Returnable.

Shipping, handling, and gift wrap charges are not refundable.

Gift Cards are non-transferable, non-refundable and are not redeemable for cash.

To return merchandise purchased by phone or online please call 626-405-3433 or email us at for return instructions.

Recently Viewed Products