You are probably familiar with the reproduction bookcases at Monticello, a portable shelving system designed by Thomas Jefferson for his personal library. The individual boxes could be easily taken apart and temporary fronts were nailed on to protect the books during transport.
And Jefferson did just that when he sold his library to Congress in 1815.
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I don’t know what happened to the originals (if anyone out there does, please holler). But there are nice reproductions at Monticello. I’ve built several versions of the bookcases through the years. Once for the library here and many other times for customers. They are a lot of work, but they’re fun (if you like cutting dovetails). Free plans are available here.
This week Mark Firley sent me some photos of another reproduction at Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, which was his retreat from Monticello. These are painted a beautiful red, but most of all the details are similar to the Monticello bookcases.
— Christopher Schwarz