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An Abundance of Books
The revolving bookstand on display at Monticello, once thought to be a music stand, was probably made to Jefferson's design and specifications in the joinery. The bookstand could expand to hold five books open at adjustable angles, allowing Jefferson to consult multiple works at once. The slave Isaac Jefferson recalled that Jefferson had an "abundance of books," with as many as twenty down on the floor at one time.
Constructed of solid walnut, the cube-shaped stand has five adjustable rests for holding books; it has one book rest on the top and one on each of the four sides. The rests can be folded down to form a cube. A central pole enables the bookstand to rotate at the bottom. A hole in the bottom suggests the possibility that the bookstand originally was supported by a tripod base.