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Posted Saturday, July 20th, 2019

The High Chest, Traced to John Hancock, Was Given 75 Years Ago

On November 14, 1944, five months after D-Day, June 6, 1944, when more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy France to fight Nazi Germany, and six months before Nazi Germany’s May 1945 surrender to the Allies, the Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael donated to Morristown National Historical Park a high chest that has records of ownership by John Hancock.

High Chest likely owned by John Hancock, was a gift from Beit Yisrael. It is on display at the Ford Mansion

This high chest was likely owned by John Hancock. It was a gift from Beit Yisrael to Morristown National Park and is on display at the Ford Mansion.

The gift was a thank-you to the nation for its support of the Jewish community during the Second World War. Fundraising by the Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael began during the height of the war, and the exchange was facilitated by Israel Sack, a famous Lithuanian-born, New York City based antiques dealer.

For the 75th anniversary of the donation, Morristown NHP and the MJCBY are pleased to recall and reflect upon the mutually supportive relationships that existed within the Morristown community during the difficult times this nation faced throughout the Second World War.

In addition to its John Hancock provenance, the high chest displays stunning craftsmanship. It is constructed of maple and pine, with a mahogany stain, and is made from two separate pieces that fit into each other. The high chest’s feet are in the Queen Anne style, a decorative element popular between 1725 and 1750.

In storage for the last thirty-five years, the high chest is now back on display until the end of 2019 on the second floor of the historic Ford Mansion. The chest can only be seen during guided tours of the Ford Mansion. All tours of the Ford Mansion begin in Morristown NHP’s Washington’s Headquarters Museum. The tour schedule is available at For additional information about the free tours, call Wednesday-Sunday, 973-539-2016 x 210. For additional information about the high chest, contact Jude Pfister at [email protected].

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