The vast majority of objects housed at the James Monroe Museum are part of the Laurence Gouverneur Hoes Collection, named for one of the co-founders of the museum, and its first director. The object collections include over 1,600 artifacts ranging from personal items such as jewelry and clothing, to fine arts, to decorative arts such as furniture and china. Most of the objects placed in the museum by Rose and Laurence Hoes in 1927 descended through James Monroe’s youngest daughter, Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur and her children. Here we present just a few of our items (click on the thumbnails to open the images).
Chocolate pot (ca. 1805) made of sterling silver, with a scrolling wood handle. The initials “J.M.” are engraved on the pot and lid. Monroe may have purchased this piece in London while he was Minister to France, Spain, and England from 1801 to 1807.
Monroe Doctrine Desk (Secretary Desk) (ca. 1795). This desk is part of a larger set of furniture purchased by the Monroes while in Paris during Monroe’s time as Ambassador to France. The entire set of furniture was brought back to the United States with the family, and accompanied them to the President’s House in 1817. Family legend states that this is the desk at which Monroe was sitting when he penned the now famous Monroe Doctrine. The desk also contains a secret compartment, in which a cache of long-forgotten letters was found in the 20th century. The letters were written between Monroe and other notables like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. They now reside here at the museum in the Ingrid Westesson Hoes Archive.