Secretary & Bookcase (100308_015)

Secretary & Bookcase

Unknown maker
Primary wood: cherry Secondary wood: poplar
49″ width, 95″ height, 24-5/8″ depth
Ref. No. 100308_015

This secretary and bookcase found in Louisville, Kentucky was likely made in the Ohio River Valley region—Cincinnati or Louisville being strong possibilities. Baltimore inspired, this secretary was made circa 1820 by a fine regional cabinetmaker using locally available woods.

The top board of the upper section at cornice reveals four unoccupied mortise cuts suggesting a missing element. Standing one inch shy of eight feet without the missing element reinforces the theory that relocation to a space with eight-foot ceilings would not have accommodated any additional height. The secretary exhibits an old finish with minor imperfections. The period knobs replaced later bat wing brasses (which were removed). This secretary with bookcase is a superlative example of regional design from this period.