Redwood History: Abraham Redwood's Spectacles

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 5:07pm -- Redwood Staff

One of the most endearing traits of the “Yankee” is our passion for thrift. If there could possibly be any other use for an object, now or in the distant future, we feel it is necessary to keep it. While this typically leads to numerous yard sales and the inevitable dumpster, it also leads to amazing and wonderful donations to cultural institutions like the Redwood Library. One of my personal favorites, and by far one of the most interesting and unique pieces in our collection, are the spectacles belonging to Abraham Redwood. Given to the Library as a bequest in 1905, the donor is listed only as Mrs. Beede.

A comparative study conducted many years ago, to a set of spectacles owned by Yale University, introduced the possibility that these glasses may have been created by Edmund Hughes, a silversmith working primarily out of Middletown, Connecticut. Both sets of spectacles are circular lens holders filled with clear glass lenses set within tortoise-shell frames; earpieces adjustable in length by means of a sliding bar and pin mechanism on the temple pieces.

How delightful to think of Mr. Redwood leaning back in one of our modern, green reading chairs, putting on these glasses and settling down to read, a book on his knee. Imagine the world that he observed through these glasses; the history that was made in their presence. As we wind down the year, the Redwood Library would like to thank our members and visitors help keep our wonderful history going. Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us here at the Redwood Library!