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Center of Sheffield


John Warner Barber (1798-1885) produced this image of the center of Sheffield MA in 1839 and included it in his 624-page Massachusetts Historical Collections published that year.

Persons familiar with the community will recognize several venerable buildings along the left side of Main Street including the Congregational Church; the Old Stone Store, then only five years old; the Dan Raymond House, now the home of the historical society and a 19th-century hatter's shop that now houses the Mark Dewey Research Center.

Barber, born in East Windsor CT studied with the East Windsor printmaker Abner Reed before settling in New Haven in 1823. An artist, printmaker, author and publisher, he traveled widely through Connecticut and Massachusetts, making sketches of characteristic buildings and views and obtain information about local sources.

Barber developed his rough pencil sketches into more detailed wash drawings that were subsequently transferred directly to small blocks of boxwood on which he engraved the designs. The engravings were used to illustrate his 500-page Connecticut Historical Collections.