Chest, decoration attributed to Johannes Spitler, Shenandoah (now Page) Co., Va., ca. 1800 (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

Storage Jar

Ronald L. Hurst and Jonathan Prown, Southern Furniture 1680-1830: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1997), esp.337-43.

Donald Walters, "Johannes Spitler, Shenandoah County, Virginia, Furniture Decorator," The Magazine Antiques 108 (1975): 730-735.

Warren Hofstra, The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

Scott Swank, ed. Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans (1983).

McCleary, Ann E. "Forging a Regional Identity: Development of Rural Vernacular Architecture in the Central Shenandoah Valley, 1790-1850," in After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900. University of Tennessee Press, 2000.

Edward Chappell, "Acculturation in the Shenandoah Valley: Rhenish Houses of the Massanutten Settlement," Common Places edited by Dell Upton and John Michael Vlach (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986): pp. 27-57.

1. Discuss the ornament used by Spitler on this chest as it expresses his German heritage and what might these motifs have meant in traditional German culture. Discuss the role of religious symbolism in German culture.

2. The Valley of Virginia is very different in many ways from the eastern portion of the state. Discuss the ways in which agriculture and slavery were different from the Chesapeake.

3. Edward Chappell has examined English-German acculturation in the Massanutten area of the Valley of Virginia at the same time when Spitler produced this chest. What is acculturation and what does this chest reveal about this process.

4. Discuss the chest in relationship to its owners' identity in light of the arguments put forth by Chappell and McCleary in the articles above.