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Table, Writing or Library


Image: Table, Writing or Library (Cat. no. 65.00131.000)
by Unidentified
Rosewood, 1860 ca.
Overall measurement
      Height: 30.13 inches  (76.5 cm)
      Width:  65.88 inches  (167.3 cm)
      Depth: 49 inches  (124.5 cm)
Cat. no. 65.00131.000

This handsome library table was acquired around 1860 for use in the Vice President's Ceremonial Office in the U.S. Capitol. Rococo in style, the table features an inset leather top, four drawers lined with birdseye maple veneer, and numerous carvings throughout. Of note among the many decorative details are the: stylized fleur-de-lis, vines leaves with grapes, shields, and a distinctive eagle with outstretched wings on the stretcher.

Believed to have been purchased from the Washington, D.C. auctioneer J.C. McGuire and Co., the table was a central feature of the richly decorated ceremonial office just off the Senate Chamber floor from 1860 until 1898. Stereographs and engravings from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, document the table's use in the room until sometime around 1898, when it was replaced with a substantially larger partner desk. Used by ten vice presidents for almost forty years, the table has been witness to many historic events—including the Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial (1868) and the death of Vice President Henry Wilson (1875).