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Monticello Letter Opener - Tulip Poplar - 10.5 x 1.75 x .75 inches Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States of America may well have planted the tree from which I carved this letter opener. In his Weather Memorandum Book on April 16, 1807, Jefferson noted planting "1. Laurodendron in margin of SW [shrub circle] from the nursery." This tree grew to be enormous and unfortunately hollow. 84” in diameter at it’s base this was described as one of ‘Mr. Jefferson’s pet trees”. It was designated both one of Virginia’s Remarkable Trees and a Millennium Landmark Tree”. Eventually this magnificent tree was removed for safety concerns and I was offered some of the wood for carving. The huge hollow tree held water and over the years this water stained the wood very dark nearest the soaked interior surface. It was from this unusually dark wood that I carved this letter opener. Letters were the internet of the day for our founding fathers and crafting letters was an art form. This contemporary letter opener honors those bygone days and pays respect to Thomas Jefferson, who loved science, nature, letters, and trees - $750.  Photography by Jim Osborn.

 

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