Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Secretary and bookcase

Date:
1795–1810
Geography:
Possibly made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; Possibly made in Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Mahogany, satinwood, ebony with white pine, cedar
Dimensions:
89 1/2 x 42 x 24 1/2 in. (227.3 x 106.7 x 62.2 cm)
Classification:
Furniture
Credit Line:
Gift of the Members of the Committee of the Bertha King Benkard Memorial Fund, 1946
Accession Number:
46.67.89
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 725
The combined desk and bookcase, with a fitted secretary drawer, the front of which drops down to provide a writing surface, offered an efficient means of conducting correspondence, managing household accounts, and storing a family’s books. Because they were a symbol of education and literacy, secretary bookcases were sometimes located in public rooms such as parlors or entry halls, where they could be on full display for visitors.
Mrs. Harry Horton (Bertha King) Benkard, Oyster Bay, New York, until died 1945; [Members of the Committee of the Bertha King Benkard Memorial Fund, Wilmington, Delaware, 1945–1946]
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