Citation

A Chairmaking Family: The Story of William Kunze

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Abstract:

This paper examines the story of one of the most neglected historical African-American artisans, William Kunze. Though his chairs are collectible today, very little is known of his life and the development of his skill.This paper will correct the misconceptions surrounding the origins of his craftsmanship and reveal a series of under-explored genealogical documents essential in uncovering the history of African Americans. William Kunze was an enslaved African chair maker who conducted his craft exclusively in Warren County, Missouri. According to the only published account of his work Kunze was taught to make chairs "in the German style" by an immigrant artisan. Instead, William Kunze was taught to make chairs by his father, a free African, who in 1860 was the only documented chair maker in Warren County, Missouri. Kunze's entrepreneurship was an example of skills and talents, spoken of by Booker T. Washington, which transcended slavery and helped to restore a severely diminished local economy. The findings of this research is part of an unpublished biographical work on a series of African-American artisans, some of whom were unknown to historians. In the course of the discussion clues to identifying Kunze chairs and those of his father will be presented.
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435546_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Whitfield, John. "A Chairmaking Family: The Story of William Kunze" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435546_index.html>

APA Citation:

Whitfield, J. h. , 2010-09-29 "A Chairmaking Family: The Story of William Kunze" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435546_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper examines the story of one of the most neglected historical African-American artisans, William Kunze. Though his chairs are collectible today, very little is known of his life and the development of his skill.This paper will correct the misconceptions surrounding the origins of his craftsmanship and reveal a series of under-explored genealogical documents essential in uncovering the history of African Americans. William Kunze was an enslaved African chair maker who conducted his craft exclusively in Warren County, Missouri. According to the only published account of his work Kunze was taught to make chairs "in the German style" by an immigrant artisan. Instead, William Kunze was taught to make chairs by his father, a free African, who in 1860 was the only documented chair maker in Warren County, Missouri. Kunze's entrepreneurship was an example of skills and talents, spoken of by Booker T. Washington, which transcended slavery and helped to restore a severely diminished local economy. The findings of this research is part of an unpublished biographical work on a series of African-American artisans, some of whom were unknown to historians. In the course of the discussion clues to identifying Kunze chairs and those of his father will be presented.


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