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As part of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series, Ronald L. Hurst gave a presentation entitled A Rich and Varied Culture: the Material World of the Early South on September 18, 2014. Already seven months into its five-year-tenure, A Rich and Varied Culture: the Material World of the Early South has been hailed as a groundbreaking exhibit that is the first of its kind in 50 years. The exhibit highlights the breadth of the material culture of the 18th century – furniture, ceramics, metals, archaeological artifacts, and more. The objects chosen from Drayton Hall’s Collections span the first and second periods of Drayton Hall when John (1715-1779) and his son Charles (1743-1820) were in residence. Included will be the most significant piece of furniture in Drayton Hall’s collection: a rare, English-made desk and bookcase, c. 1745. Described by Hurst as “the finest example of furniture to survive from Colonial America,” this exquisite piece is a testament to John Drayton’s wealth and sophistication, and his position as one of colonial America’s most significant merchant planters.All Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series programs will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. and will be hosted at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, downtown Charleston. Doors will open by 6:30 p.m., seating is limited, and a dessert reception will follow. This program is free to Friends of Drayton Hall and their guests. The fall 2014 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speaker Series continues with an October 16th presentation by Andrew O’Shaughnessy, University of Virginia/Monticello, entitled The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire; and a November 20th presentation by Architectural Historian Jill M. Lord entitled Improvement of the Americas: The Architecture of Colonial American Libraries.