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Virtual tours of this room
- 2-D Tour of Jefferson's Private Suite
- Monticello Explorer (Flash-based tour)
- Google Street View (from 2013, before the 2017 restoration of this room)
Color: Green wallpaper and coordinating floral border paper based on historical evidence
Purpose of Room: Study for reading, writing, correspondence, and scientific observation
Unusual architectural features: Part of a "suite" of Jefferson's private rooms, along with the Book Room, later becoming the South square sitting room, Library, Greenhouse, and Bed Chamber; adjoins Jefferson's Bed Chamber via a passage and an alcove bed opening onto two rooms, but with a wallpapered folding screen affixed to the Cabinet side; plan based on an octagon, a favored architectural shape for Jefferson
Furnishings of note: Reading and writing arrangement, which included a revolving chair, a table with a revolving top, a revolving stand on a tripod base, and a polygraph copying machine; sofa used for reading and napping
Objects on Display in this Room
- John Adams (Sculpture)
- Oblong Revolving Table
- Revolving Stand
- Revolving Armchair by Burling
- Whalebone and Ivory Walking Stick
- Windsor Bench
Primary Source References
1801 October 8. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[F]rom an actual survey of the plantation I occupy there (which you will see in one of the desk drawers in my study) ...."2
1801 December 4. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[I]t is in one of the volumes ... which you will find in the press on the right side of the cherry sash door in my cabinet."3
1806 January 31. (Jefferson to James Ogilvie). "[T]he arrangement begins behind the partition door leading out of the Book room into the Cabinet, & proceeds from left to right round the room; then entering the Cabinet it begins at the Eastern angle, & goes round that room."4
1808 October 4. (Jefferson to Thomas Mann Randolph). "[B]ut I think it must be in one of the cartoons in the Cabinet window near which I usually sit to write, that is to say near the red turning chair."5
1819 July 28. (Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph). "[I]n my Cabinet, & in the window on the right of my writing table you will see 4. or 5. cartoons of papers. the 2d & 3d of these contain a compleat set of alphabeted papers ...."7
- Beiswanger, William L. Monticello in Measured Drawings. Charlottesville, Va.: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2011.
- 1. PTJ, 32:259. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 2. PTJ, 35:414. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 3. PTJ, 36:20. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 4. Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 5. Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online.
- 6. Gaillard S. Hunt, ed., The First Forty Years of Washington Society: Portrayed by the Family Letters of Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith (Margaret Bayard) from the Collection of Her Grandson, J. Henley Smith (New York: Scribner, 1906), 72.
- 7. PTJ:RS, 14:574. Transcription available at Founders Online.