Newberry & Sons Chairs

chairmakers, Red Boiling Springs

Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2009)


In the quiet Jennings Creek community, Louie Newberry (1943-   ) has raised his sons Terry (1967-   ) and Mark (1969-   ) to work alongside him in preserving Tennessee’s oldest family craft tradition.  Newberrys were building chairs here before the Civil War, and Louie’s father Dallas Newberry (1892-1989) was the living link between that history and today’s family shop.  Dallas built chairs for over 80 years, and his old-time way of doing things lives on in the design patterns, techniques, and standards of workmanship still characteristic of this farm-based shop.  Chair timber is harvested and milled on their own land, and some features of their chairs—such as lean posts, hickory bark bottoms­, and  bent backs—remain little-changed from the 19th century.   But Newberry & Sons has also incorporated changes that are in keeping with their tradition, just as they currently seek new ways to find customers and remain a viable operation for the future.


To see Newberry & Sons’ profile in the 2009 Governor’s Arts Awards program, click here.

For more about the Newberrys, go to:

Youtube addr for 2001 Gov Awd


For further reading, see:

Alligood, Leon, “Craftsmen make ladderbacks like their dads did,” The Tennessean (July 28, 1992), p. B1.
Buchanan, Curtis, “Appalachian Chairmakers: Tradition and Revival,” Woodwork 69 (Jun 2001): 48-53.
Cogswell, Robert, Tradition: Tennessee Lives & Legacies (Nashville: Tennessee Arts Commission, 2010), pp. 102-7.
-----, “The Newberry Chair Tradition.” Click here to download.
Fugua, Arthur G., “ The Old Hickory Rock,” Tennessee Conservationist 38, # 2 (Feb 1972): 8-9.
“Grant Helps Newberry Family Continue Chairmaking Tradition,” Arts Tennessee (Fall 2008): 8.
Hire, Sandra,” Newberry and Son’s Chairs: The Fifth Generation,” Tennessee Magazine (Apr 1994): 16-18, 22.
Montell, William Lynwood, Upper Cumberland Country (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993), pp. 48-50.