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MESDA Journal Image 03The MESDA Journal ( has published groundbreaking research on early southern decorative arts and material culture since 1975. Articles in the MESDA Journal are available free of charge through its website, as are digital versions of past issues published over the last forty-three years.

A recent article relates how a chess table with an Italian-made marble top purchased abroad by John Hipkins Bernard led Colonial Williamsburg’s Curator of Furniture Tara Gleason Chicirda to produce the first scholarship identifying a Port Royal, Virginia cabinetmaking shop. Through letter, receipts, and surviving furniture with Bernard Family provenances, Chicirda documents the work of brothers John and Walter Bowie and illustrates how they successfully—for a time—adapted to competition from large urban furniture manufacturers.