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Shuffleton’s Last Days in the Berkshires

To the editor: Ben Garver’s front-page photographs in The Eagle’s Berkshire Section in Saturday and Sunday’s edition brought immediate memories to this writer.

Garver’s photographs show Norman Rockwell’s painting “Shuffleton’s Barbershop,” which I was tasked with framing nearly a half a century ago.

I was, at the time, head of the children’s department at Berkshire Museum. And, like other staff, I used skills as required beyond what our titles indicated; mine at the time was as a skilled picture framer. Norman Rockwell, a good friend of Berkshire Museum and its then-director, Stuart Henry, gifted the institution his 1950 painting “Shuffleton’s Barbershop.”

Mr. Henry asked me to frame the painting, which I did. And as I could not choose a stock molding that I liked, I went shopping at Dettinger Lumber Co. Inc., where I chose three molding styles. With Elmer’s glue and a dark walnut oil stain, I fabricated the unique frame that still adorns the painting soon to be part of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art’s collection in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park.

– Thom Smith, Pittsfield, MA