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Watch Jewish Immigrants in the American Antiques Trade

In the early twentieth century, Jewish cabinetmakers from Eastern Europe played a pivotal role in the emerging market for antiques and their reproductions. In this talk, Briann Greenfield and Erica Lome explore the lives and careers of two immigrants, Israel Sack and Nathan Margolis, who trained together in Lithuania and became noted authorities on Early American furniture. Their clients included some of the most famous collectors of their era, such as Henry Francis du Pont, J.P. Morgan, and Luke Vincent Lockwood.

As an antique dealer and cabinetmaker respectively, Sack and Margolis exemplified a larger tradition whereby America’s oldest families depended on Jewish immigrant labor to preserve and reproduce their colonial heritage. This talk recovers their fascinating legacy and demonstrates their lasting influence on American decorative arts.

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