Benjamin Tallmadge Traveling Desk


In 1968, the Smithsonian was given a traveling desk through the bequest of Emily Howell Wilkins, great-granddaughter of Benjamin Tallmadge. Tallmadge is best remembered as George Washington’s spymaster and the head of the infamous Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. According to family tradition, the traveling desk had been used by Tallmadge during the war, though the style of desk is more typical of the time period of Benjamin Tallmadge’s career as a Congressman in the House of Representatives, which lasted from 1800 to 1817.

The triple-opening desk has space for both writing and reading, as well as a calendar with organizational pockets. Removing the locking pin and depressing a small hole in the storage area pops off a false front on the desk, revealing three “secret” drawers.

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Political History: Political History, General History Collection


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Emily Howell Wilkins

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PL.285560.01Catalog Number: 285560.01

Object Name: Desk


Record Id: nmah_513555

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