1962 Heritage Perennian Furniture Catalog

My grandparents were no slouches when it came to purchasing durable goods for the house – they saved up and purchased things that were nice, and generally contemporary for their time. They shied away from “traditional” furniture and lines. In the living room and dining room spaces, they purchased higher end Heritage furniture, from a collection called Perennian. Heritage today is known as Drexel Heritage (a combination made in the late 1950s, though for a time they were still marketed separately.)

Perennian isn’t a very “hot” vintage mid-century item, precisely because it wasn’t very avant-garde for its time and therefore stand out as must-have mid-century for collectors today. Perennian furniture represented a bridge between very contemporary mid-century furniture designs from makers like Knoll (who produced Eames, Saarien, Noguchi and others) and the more traditional furniture that Heritage had been known for previously (and is known for today.) The furniture featured subdued but modern lines and made extensive use of woods such as walnut, pecan, and wormy chestnut. In spite of the subdued looks, it is very mid-century. It’s also very nice, sturdy, high quality, mostly solid wood furniture, which is typical of Heritage. Much nicer and higher quality than vintage Acclaim and Broyhill Brasilia, for instance.

Interestingly, the fact that this furniture wasn’t worth “a lot” became a point of contention – my grandmother and aunt insisted they were worth more than an appraiser said. In the end, my aunt took the dining room set to a new house she bought, so this problem went away on it’s own, fortunately.

The living room also has several Perennian pieces as well – a three-part coffee table set and two end tables. Ultimately, we kept one of the end tables, and Grandma wanted the others for her new apartment after moving out. I very, very rarely see Perennian furniture out in the wild – but interestingly, Tricia over at Modchester (in her fancy Rochester mid-century house) inherited a beautiful group of Perennian furniture from the original owners of her place.

One of the things that I did keep was the original Perennian catalog from 1962. For posterity (and because Pam over at Retro Renovation archives these too, which I will send her way) I went ahead and scanned the entire catalog. It’s pretty interesting seeing the different pieces, the fabrics and suggested layouts. So, here it is, all 45+ pages in high resolution for your viewing enjoyment:

7 thoughts on “1962 Heritage Perennian Furniture Catalog

  1. modernT

    Thanks for the mention, Doug! I wish I found more of this furniture at estate sales. The shape of the legs on the pieces that we have is so unique.

    I know our Perennian furniture was purchased at Sibley’s, which was a fancy department store in downtown Rochester (now sadly closed). The catalog is such eye candy. Thanks for scanning it in and posting it.

    Reply
  2. Paul

    Thanks for this, it was very helpful. I just bought the little diamond shaped cocktail table (16-842-38) from a garage sale and thanks to you was able to figure out exactly where it came from!

    Reply
  3. Kathleen Beltz

    Thank you Thank you! I have two Drexel Heritage end tables I was trying to place and there they are in the catalog.
    I really appreciate the catalog and information.
    Kathleen

    Reply
    1. Douglas Camin Post author

      Welcome! So they’re really Heritage Perennian and not Drexel Declaration? I have Heritage Perennian in my dining room and living room, and Drexel Declaration in my bedroom. I need to do a post about my Drexel Declaration finds too. Also, I’ve noticed that it is now much easier to find Perennian furniture, mostly because this catalog is available for antique shops. When I bought my dining room chairs from a store down in Atlanta last year I casually mentioned I had the catalog scanned online and the shop owner immediately told me that catalog was how he identified the pieces in the first place.

      Reply
    1. Douglas Camin Post author

      Nice! I am tempted to write an updated story here too – I have bought several pieces of Perennian in the last year or so – a different coffee table, dining room chairs and dining room table. This post has slowly led to better identification of Perennian items. When I called the dealer in Atlanta who had the dining chairs I explained that I had posted the catalog online and he responded that this scanned catalog was where he figured out what the furniture was. What I’ve found is that post has led to way more people being able to identify their furniture as Perennian. It’s unfortunate that Heritage did not think to put the series name on the pieces, like Drexel Declaration (which I also bought a bedroom set) because it would be a whole different story in the vintage furniture market for this line now. But knowing was to search for I have regularly found Perennian items for sale online, often only identified as “Drexel Heritage”

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