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Is this Jefferson’s desk?


One in 8.5 Million

Is this Jefferson’s desk?

There are many reproductions of the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Some have even been mistaken for the original. Each contained a copy of the letter written by Jefferson to his son in law, Joseph Coolidge, reproduced through a photographic method called “photographic drawing” and indistinguishable from the original with the naked eye. This replica was built by James Degges and given as a gift to the department of the treasury. Jefferson’s original desk is at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


The Virginia Historical Society has been collecting since 1831. Included in our unique collection are 8-million processed manuscripts, 200,000 books, 290,000 prints and photographs, and 32,000 museum objects documenting the daily lives and times of all Virginians. The object featured here offers one opportunity to look into the past. Millions more treasures await you at our headquarters in Richmond, by appointment at Virginia House, and online at

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