Jefferson was not only a prolific correspondent, but also was an exemplary recordkeeper. With the help of various copying devices, he was able to produce copies of his own letters. These copies were kept in more than six presses, made by the Monticello joinery especially for filing. In addition to the letters that he wrote and received, Jefferson also kept law cases, papers of the old Congress, state papers, household accounts, plantation papers, pocket memorandum books, bank accounts, diplomas, and documents that he used in preparing Notes on the State of Virginia.
Five of the original presses are known today. Each consists of a rectangular cabinet with fixed shelves resting on a wide plinth containing a drawer. Without feet, the base sits directly on the floor. The presses feature construction details characteristic of the Monticello joinery. For example, just as on the Work Table in the South Square Room, three of the presses have drawers with a scratch bead at the top and bottom, but not on the sides. The shelves are notched to fit into the sides of the cabinet.
|Object Type||Furniture and Lighting|
|Materials||cherry and walnut|
|Dimensions||34 11/16 x 19 x 12 3/4 in.|