Naomi Wood, the founder of the collection at Woodford, was born in Philadelphia on June 12, 1871. Her father, Caleb Wood together with his father David Wood operated a store for “Ladies and Children’s Furnishing Goods” at 1322 Chestnut Street across from where the Wanamaker Store would be constructed. Naomi Wood, an only child, inherited this property around 1920 and sold it; thus creating the basis of her estate. She died in 1926 while visiting Exeter, England.
Miss Wood was an attractive and very highly educated woman who remained a companion to her widowed mother. She began collecting antiques before 1905 while living in Ardmore, PA. By 1910 she and her good friend Daniel Huntoon had developed a plan whereby both of their collections would be on display in an important historic house that would be open to the public. Miss Wood had the means to buy and endow a Colonial house museum as well as a large collection of smaller objects, while Mr. Huntoon had many of the large and small furnishings necessary to equip such an endeavor.
Miss Wood directed in her will that her residuary estate should be used to maintain her collection, “as an illustration of household gear during Colonial years,” in a house to be purchased by her Executors, and that her estate should be held in perpetual trust “for the purpose of furnishing, equipping and maintaining the house”, which should be open for public inspection. Daniel Huntoon and Girard Trust Company were appointed as the first Co-Trustees.