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Peter Lenox

Peter Lenox (1771-1832),[1] a cabinetmaker, originally from Williamsburg, supplied Thomas Jefferson with most of the venetian blinds at Monticello.[2] Little is known about Lenox's business in Washington, D.C. other than the fact that he served as foreman during the construction of the President's House; he also served in the same capacity for the Capitol building from 1817 onward. Benjamin Latrobe was somewhat critical of the decision to put Lenox in charge of the construction of the Capitol, because he knew little about arched construction; Latrobe's skepticism was later borne out when several of the arches in the Capitol failed.[3]

In addition to providing Venetian blinds for Monticello, Lenox also supplied carpenters' work for the Ice House and a frame for the Mammoth Cheese, flooring for some stables, and some packing boxes in the years 1802-1804.[4] All totaled, Jefferson paid Lenox $393.99 1/2 over a period of seven years between March 29, 1802 and March 10, 1809.

Lenox also did some work for James Madison. A letter to Madison from James Dinsmore, dated April 20, 1809, asks Madison to send a new grindstone to Dinsmore at Montpelier, as the one there was worn out and those to be had in Fredericksburg were inferior in quality. Dinsmore suggested that Madison could probably get Mr. Lenox to choose the stone for him.[5]


  1. This article is based on Richard Hawkings, Monticello Research Report, 1990.
  2. See Lenox to Jefferson, 26 May 1804, MHi, MB, 2:1069, 2:1139, 2:1153, and 2:1158.
  3. See BHL to Madison, 14 March 1809, Madison Papers, and BHL to Gallard, 8 December 1818, Latrobe Papers.
  4. MB, 2:1069, 1242.
  5. Robert Rutland, ed. et al. Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series, (Charlottesville VA: University Press of Virginia, 194), 1:126.


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