We collect antiques and vintage home furnishings, fashions, books and curiosities steeped in the colorful history of Athens, Ohio set in the natural beauty of Appalachia. We imagine the early settler Rufus Putnam was impressed by the abundance of native flora such as Speedwell.  Our name Putnam & Speedwell signifies the balance and harmony between nature and community.

Natural resources like clay, coal and river ways attracted potters from across the Atlantic. The Ohio River Valley was soon crowned the capital of pottery. This history is present in our collection; each piece has a story of the past present in this place we call home.

Rufus Putnam


Historian. Collector. Curator.

I started life as an historian. At least, as far back as I can remember, I wanted to know why. Why do we dress the way that we do, why do we eat the food we eat and why do we do the things that we do?  As I later discovered, historians and ethnographers work at understanding how the past is present in everyday life. I still feel privileged that I have spent much of my life doing history.

The jump to collecting was not difficult at all – with all the free time that I had after my time in academia came to an end I began collecting bits and pieces of material culture. Each object begged a question, each object told a story. The skills necessary for historical research, spending days looking at fragments of a life and piecing these fragments together to tell the story of someone dead for five-hundred years, were perfect for design research as I constructed timelines in my head. Soon, the collection had filled the barn. So, there I was with a storehouse that soon became a business plan! Selling pieces from my cabinet of curiosities and my over-grown collection of pottery manufactured in this region allowed me to continue exploring niches and crannies for bits and pieces in an effort to understand our history. . . and write about that history.Taking all of these threads and weaving them together is a lifetime of work!

Environmental Engineer. Rabid Recycler. Collector.

Thrifty in the tradition of knowing there is a good use for this instead of the land fill. In my previous life, I managed large recycling systems in large cities and the safe storage of hazardous materials. There is only so much space to put the stuff we all waste. Housing a collection of materials useful and sometimes quirky; my limited space is burgeoning. My collection has been my hobby that has spanned over thirty years. Looking forward to passing these things on.


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