A Pictorial Desk
Carpenter, postmaster, doctor, and politician Moses Mason created this unique piece of furniture two centuries ago.
Doctor Moses Mason was an accomplished man by any standard. Born in New Hampshire in 1789, he eventually moved to Bethel, Maine, and became postmaster there. He then served in the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, and served on the boards of many institutions and educational facilities, all while being an excellent physician. In addition to these achievements he was also a good craftsman, and a very creative one at that. He built this pictorial desk for his home in Bethel, a home which is richly decorated by primitive stencils and murals by the famous itinerant painter, Rufus Porter. But this desk is worth studying, as it has spaces to hold many photographic prints, primarily daguerreotypes and tintypes as well as books and other private items. While being somewhat primitive in style, it is unusual and very well done. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it illustrates the talents of a very interesting man from our nation’s past. The desk can be seen today at the Doctor Moses Mason house museum in Bethel, Maine.