Partners' Desk or Library Table



Partners' Desk or Library Table


United Crafts




29 3/4 x 93 1/2 x 47 inches


Elm, copper hardware

Object No.


Credit line

Anonymous Gift


No shop mark. The underside of the drawer faces are respectively struck “I, II, III, IIII, IIIII, VI” in their centers. The lower rail in the desk that supports the drawer has the corresponding number struck in its center. The shape and length of the marks suggests that a chisel was used. One drawer is inscribed “3d Floor” in script in pencil on base. There is a curious mark shaped like a # on the underside of where the drawers are inserted.


Stickley’s decision to bring this large partners' desk into the Log House is curious in hindsight. Originally part of the suite of furnishings in his Syracuse editorial office, where it was photographed and published by 1904, the desk lost its essential function as a piece of work furniture and became more of a decorative element that helped anchor the living room as a place of leisure and relaxation. No longer was the desk a locus of collaboration and labor as it had been in his office, but instead took on a social and familial role.

In formal terms, this table is an expanded version of Library Table (no. 460), a model produced from 1902-04. While they are generally similar in conception, the elm table is much larger and features a lower shelf or broad stretcher that spans the length of the form. The expanded size of the tabletop—96 ½ x 36 ½ inches—allowed for and encouraged a collaborative work environment. Writing in 1904, Irene Sargent identified this desk as “a large library table,” thus confirming the source of this design.

The use of elm is fairly uncommon in Stickley’s early work and the material and color reflect his continued experiments with wood and finishes in the period 1898 to 1904. As he remarked about this process in 1905: “My first efforts in this direction were made upon our native woods, from which I finally selected white oak as the one best adapted to my uses.”

The hand-cut dovetails and the width of the elm boards indicate a date of 1902 for this desk based on the January 1, 1903 Inventory of Stickley’s factory in Syracuse. By the first of that year he owned a fifteen spindle Dodge Dove Tailing Machine valued at $275.00. In addition, he had in stock the type of wide boards—four inch elm—that are seen on the top of desk. A year earlier the largest size “Rock Elm” he stocked was one inch wide.

Associated names

Gustav Stickley


The Craftsman Building Syracuse (by 1903), at Craftsman Farms (by 1911), sold with the contents of Craftsman Farms to George and Sylvia Farny (1917), by descent to Cyril Farny, Private Collection (by 1992); Anonymous gift to the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in 1995.

Item sets