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Bedroom Portholes


Thomas Jefferson wrote to his daughter Martha in 1815, "In the closet over my bed you will find a bag tied up, and labelled 'Wolf-skin pelisse,' and another labelled 'fur-boots,' wherein those articles will be found."1  The "closet" refers to a small storage space above the bed, ventilated by three oval-shaped, porthole-like openings.  The storage space is reached through the doorway to the right of the head of the bed, which conceals a ladder-like set of stairs.


  • 1. Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph, Poplar Forest, November 4, 1815, in Family Letters, 411.
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ksmeltzer's picture
The portholes led to the place where Jefferson's dreams lived. Needless to say, it was an interesting place. (Though not true, my falsehood is more fun than the closet reality)
Kristie Smeltzer
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