Extract from Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to Henry S. Randall
|Boston 22 February 1856|
My grandfather taught me to play chess, liked to play with me, and after our dinner, in summer time, he would have the chess board under the trees before the door, and we would have our game together. He had made, by his own carpenter and cabinet maker, John Hemmings, and painted by his own painter, Burwell, a small, light table, devided in squares like a chess board & with a sort of tray or long box at two of the sides to hold the men and put them into as they were taken off the Board. It was a very nice, convenient little thing and perfectly answered the purpose for which it was intended ... My first writing table, made for me when I was perhaps thirteen or fourteen years old, out of the beautiful wood of the wild cherry, by the same John Hemmings, and planned by my grandfather for my use, was as simple and convenient a thing as could be, and I still remember how useful I found it as writing table, reading desk & serving all purposes of a light easily portable stand.