Book of the Week (1/30/2017)

Soldier Engraver Forger: Richard Brunton's Life on the Fringe in America's New Republic by Deborah M. Child (New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015).

Deborah M. Child, NH author of The Sketchbooks of John Samuel Blunt, has written a fascinating account of the traveling engraver Richard Brunton, whose presence has been documented in much of New England, including New Hampshire. As someone with a great interest in genealogy, I was delighted to see the decorative keepsake family registers that he produced for recording births, marriages, and deaths. One such register has beautiful engravings of birds, flowers, angels, and the phrase "Keep sacred the Memory of your Ancestors." You can view these family registers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society's AmericanAncestors.org database.
In this richly illustrated biography, the author follows in the footsteps of Richard Brunton, a British grenadier who fought in the American Revolution before deserting in 1779. A trained engraver and diesinker, his primitive but charming works include some of the earliest pre-printed family registers in America. Despite his many talents and efforts, he was never able to make an honest living from his craft. Instead, he spent years living on the fringes of society, forging and counterfeiting currency, until his death in a New England almshouse in 1832.--Jacket flap

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