Haley and Steele
22 Harris Street
Dedham, MA. 02026
Monday - Thursday: 9am-5pm
Saturday, Sunday, and evenings by appointment only
History of Haley & Steele
Haley & Steele was first started back in 1899, when Mr. Haley
and Mr. Steele started selling engravings from a cart on the corner
of Arlington and Newbury Streets in Boston. Within a few years,
they had developed a bustling trade, and in 1907, the partners
incorporated and opened a shop on St. James Street in Boston.
Tragically, Mr. Steele died shortly after, but the Haley family, as a
mark of respect, kept his name in the company title. It was in the
shop on St. James Street that Haley & Steele added a full-service
framing and gilding operation, which soon became the first choice
for the residents of Beacon Hill and Back Bay. After the war, the shop moved to Newbury Street, where it became a fixture for proper Bostonians for decades. Since then, the ownership has passed from the Haley family, through numerous proud owners who’ve continued and added to the legacy and history of the firm.
In 2006, our history suffered a blemish when the owner at that time, Julian Tavener, who had owned the company for a period of time, fled the country to England in the darkness of night, after having used funds from consignment sales to pay expenses for the company, which unbeknown to everyone at the time, was losing money, under his stewardship . A criminal investigation ensued, which found that Mr. Tavener had acted in bad faith and had kept his actions a secret from his employees and customers. He is no longer able to enter the US.
Shortly after the closure of the company, one of the long-term customers of Haley & Steele, purchased the name from the liquidator of the business. When asked why he would want a business whose name had been damaged, he replied,
“One person’s mistake cannot define the 120 year lineage of this grand business. With a list of wonderful owners, loyal employees, and a stellar reputation, this singular event and the one owner out of so many, is but a small spot of tarnish on the family silver. Our job now, is to polish the silver, minimizing that tarnish, and return the family name and it's history back to a proud level. What family does not have a deviant somewhere in their history who embarrassed the family. This does not make every member of the family bad. We just have to work even harder to restore the respect and honor to the family name. The family silver of Haley and Steele will shine again.”
To start the rebirth, the new owner also purchased Guido Frames, which is considered the finest frame gilding shop in the Northeast, serving collectors, artists and museums, and combined it with H&S, and reopened at 118 Newbury Street, the old home of Guido Frame Studio.
In 2012, the combined company was moved to a newly renovated second floor showroom at 162 Newbury Street above The Guild of Boston. Currently, Haley and Steele along with Guido Frames live in Dedham, MA., which houses both a showroom and the factory for all national frame sales and gilding operations.
Courtesy of Helen Sheldon
About her grandfather - Michael E. Steele
"My grandfather Michael E. Steele was born in Sydney Mines
Nova Scotia in 1871. In his twenties he moved to Boston,
Massachusetts, where he established a frame and fine arts
business on Newbury Street.
Before opening this business he sold fine art prints from a
wheelbarrow in and around Copley Square. Later he advised
wealthy clients on choosing frames for their valuable paintings.
He could often be found on the North Shore hanging paintings
in their homes. As his reputation grew he decided to engage a
partner, a Mr. Haley. The business became known as Haley and
Steele. He settled in Jamaica Plain and was eventually assisted
by his four sons: John, Edward, Malcom, and Daniel. They all
enjoyed participating in the business. My father, Edward Steele,
was an amateur cartoonist and submitted several cartoons to the
New Yorker Magazine in the 1950’s. I remember my father entertaining me and my sisters with pictures of historic battles.
The business specialized in antique maps, fine prints, including Audobon prints, and custom framing. My grandfather died in Boston at age 62. The business has continued to advise clients about selecting frames for paintings they already own as well as providing recommendations for purchasing new paintings."