Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Secretary
Date ca. 1850
Description Bookcase with desk, made of mahogany and mahogany veneer. The upper portion is a bookcase with a pediment top, two glass doors, and adjustable shelves. The lower portion is a quarter cylinder desk with a two-door cabinet below. Bracket feet. The desk interior has ten pigeonholes and three small veneered drawers (the veneer is maple, satin wood, or birch). The writing surface pulls out, and a lift-top compartment has its original tooled leather writing surface and four holders for pens and small items. Stenciled mark inside the desk compartment: "J & J.W. MEEKS / MAKERS / No. 14 Vesey St. / NEW YORK". Measures 97 inches high x 47.750 inches wide by 23.250 inches deep.
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. Howard McKee
Ownership and History This bookcase with desk once belonged to George Cromwell (1860-1934), the first Borough President of Staten Island. Before his election to that position, Cromwell was an attorney, and served as Representative to the New York State Assembly from Richmond County. He was Borough President for 15 years, from 1898 to 1913, and in 1915 he was elected to the New York State Senate, where he served until 1918.

The Meeks family of New York City were highly regarded furniture craftsmen. John Meeks founded his firm in 1797. It later became John Meeks and Sons, and then J. & J. W. Meeks (for Meeks' sons John and Joseph W.) J. & J.W. Meeks, the makers of this secretary, were active from ca. 1836 to 1858.
Earliest Date 1845
Latest Date 1855
Maker J. & J. W. Meeks, New York City, NY
Subjects Antiques
Lexicon Sub-category Furniture
Associated People Cromwell, George
Catalog Number F01.0487
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, October 2013.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.