59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum


c. 1840

Unknown maker


Ink, watercolor, and graphite on paper

Dr. Daniel Fisher (1800–1876) first came to Martha's Vineyard in 1826, when he was hired by the customs officer to provide medical care to seamen in Tisbury. After his marriage to Grace Coffin a few years later, he moved to Edgartown, her hometown.

Though he continued to work as a doctor, Fisher rapidly established himself as an astute businessman and entrepreneur. He invested in whaleships, owned Memorial Wharf in Edgartown, owned a spermaceti candle factory and whale-oil refinery, built a grist mill in North Tisbury, and built a bakery where the grain was made into the ship-board staple, hardtack. He also founded the Martha's Vineyard National Bank. All of these enterprises made Fisher one of the wealthiest men on the Island.

This elegant rendering of the façade of Daniel and Grace Fisher's house on Main Street in Edgartown is from a series of architectural drawings and details prepared for its construction foreman, "Mr. Lewis, Edgartown." This was most probably carpenter and house builder Ellis Lewis (1806–1878). Constructed in 1840 on land given to the couple by Grace's well-to-do father, the Federal-style house remains one of the grandest in a town that boasts many impressive captains' residences. It is now owned by the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust.