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Object Name: Chest of drawers with secretary drawer
Date: 1800-1820
Related People:
Medium: Mahogany with poplar and pine
Dimensions: Overall: 52 3/4 x 45 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. ( 134 x 115.6 x 54.6 cm )
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Mahogany and veneered chest of drawers with secretary drawer; rectangular case with a backsplash, French feet, a serpentine skirt, and three graduated doors beneath a secretary drawer; drawers and round wooden knobs decorated with light-colored stringing; interior of desk drawer has tripartite arrangement with center bank consisting of four pigeonholes over a stack of two drawers (bottom drawer missing) flanked by banks consisting of a long drawer over a stack of four smaller drawers flanked by pigeonholes; backsplash may be later addition, mahogany veneer of top of case probably replaced, patches of mahogany veneer, molding, and front legs have been replaced.
Credit Line: Gift of Blanche Austin Rockhill
Object Number: 1956.169
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Gallery Label:

New Yorker Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) is believed to have written the Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" at this desk. He composed the poem at his Manhattan home on West 24th Street on December 22, 1822. Although scholars continue to debate whether he actually wrote the poem, the neoclassical desk was bequeathed to the Society in 1956 along with extensive documentation that connects it to Moore.

Provenance:

Per donor: Moore; bequeathed to Harriet Butler; bequeathed to H. Judd Ward (cousin); to Annie Lansing Austin; to Blanche Austin Rockhill; to New-York Historical Society.

Bibliography:

Bach, Debra Schmidt. "Witness to history: Furniture and historic relics." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 162-167.

Exhibitions:

"It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus," New-York Historical Society, November 24, 2009–January 7, 2010.