Whenever I have the privilege of showing guests around the First White House I tend to see our wonderful House Museum, in which Jefferson Davis and his family lived anew through the eyes of our visitors.
Today it was a gentleman who specializes in furniture restoration and custom woodwork. This Huntsville visitor was interested in a number of our pieces, in particular the bookcases made by Doran that are in the President’s Study which he studied at length.
This guest was also interested in a number of other pieces of furniture, notably an armoire, also called a wardrobe, in President Davis’s bedroom that the President had used at Beauvoir and which probably had been made in either New York City or Philadelphia and shipped to the southern market.
Another piece the gentleman particularly liked was a magnificent walnut Gothic Revival Bookcase, circa 1845, probably made in the Brooklyn, NY workshop of Thomas Brooks and is in our Second Parlor. Gothic Revival furniture is exceedingly rare and sought for on the antique market.
An English Teapoy, William IV, circa 1835 also caught the eye of our visitor today. Teapoys were one of the loveliest forms of early-nineteenth-century English furniture, taking the place of tabletop tea caddies. It was a delightful afternoon for us to share our treasures with this accomplished young man and his father who was visiting him from Virginia.