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Photo: Courtesy Historic Deerfield, Inc., Mass., HD 1999.5.1. Photo by Penny Leveritt
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Desk and bookcase

Object number



Maker Unknown
Maker formerly attributed John Townsend, American, 1732–1809


91 x 41 1/2 x 23 3/4 in. (231.14 x 105.41 x 60.325 cm)



Current location

Historic Deerfield, Inc.


Made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); mahogany (bookcase interior); cedar (linings of interior desk drawers); yellow poplar (exterior desk drawer linings, bottom board of desk, backboard of desk, vertical brace at back of desk, board under desk interior, brackets of rear feet, some horizontal and vertical glue blocks of feet, backboards of bookcase, and bottom board of bookcase); chestnut (backings of dividers for exterior desk drawers, blocks for lopers, guides and supports for exterior desk drawers, glue blocks at lower front rail of desk, and horizontal board that supports well cover); pine (most vertical and horizontal glue blocks of feet)




Faint numbers followed or preceded by a symbol or letter, in graphite, on interior backs [at lower edge] of interior desk drawers; faint numbers, in graphite, on interior sides and fronts of a couple interior desk drawers; one notch, cut into top of drawer front of one interior shell drawer; two notches, cut into top of drawer front of other interior shell; “/” and “//,” incised on interior front of desk drawers flanking prospect; "1" through "6," in graphite, on exterior bottoms of valance drawers [newer numbers in same location]; lines numbering "/" through "//////," incised on interior fronts of valance drawers; numbers written multiple times, in graphite, on tops of dividers under interior desk drawers [some may be original]; "3," in graphite, on top surface of divider under top exterior desk drawer; "2," in graphite, on top surface of divider under second exterior desk drawer from bottom; "Martin," in graphite, on exterior back of bookcase and top surface of desk




The Spieler family, 1921. Willoughby Farr, Edgewater, New Jersey; sold to Charles Warner Hurst and Julia Bates Hurst, New York, 1938; by descent in their family; given to Historic Deerfield, Inc., Massachusetts, 1999

Associated names

Spieler family
Willoughby Farr
Charles Warner Hurst
Julia Bates Hurst
Descendants of Charles Warner Hurst and Julia Bates Hurst


Five College Museums/Historic Deerfield Collections Database, "Desk-and-bookcase," (accessed March 25, 2010).