American, probably Madison County, Kentucky
Sugar Chest, 1800 – 1820
Walnut, poplar, other woods
32 x 25 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (81.3 x 64.8 x 47.0 cm.)
From the Noe Collection, Gift of Bob and Norma Noe, Lancaster, Kentucky 2011.9.48

The Kentucky Sugar Chest
The sugar chest is a Kentucky icon—a signature of early Kentucky furniture and foodways. Made to store refined white sugar and locally made brown sugar, it was popular between the 1790s and the 1850s. Costly refined sugar shipped to Kentucky from production points in Louisiana, the Caribbean, and elsewhere where enslaved laborers grew and harvested sugar cane. The connection between sugar and slavery continued in Kentucky. Wealth derived from slave ownership often provided the means for affording expensive refined sugar and the sugar chests in which it was stored.