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Contact: Christine Payton April 19, 2010
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
lap deskThe current exhibit in the Great Hall of the Edith Garland Dupré Library at UL Lafayette features lap desks from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They are from a large collection donated to the library by George Newton, a UL Lafayette alumnus.

Long before the invention of laptop computers, PDAs and the like, our ancestors used their own portable writing boxes to compose and store their correspondence and other important papers.

Besides a writing surface, lap desks usually featured compartments for pens, ink, and sand or blotting paper, and storage for stationery and documents. Made of hardwoods like mahogany or walnut, with brass corners and bands for added strength, these sturdy boxes could withstand the rigors of travel over bad roads.

Later lap desks were often elaborately carved, or inlaid with beautiful woods, ivory, mother of pearl or silver in ornate patterns. Many included “secret” drawers hidden beneath the ink and pen compartments. These later desks were smaller and lighter than their predecessors.

Louisiana Room Librarian Jean Kiesel created this exhibit, which includes a description of each item. The lap desks will remain on display through the end of May. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

For library hours, call 482-2665.


About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It ’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.

Document last revised Monday, April 19, 2010 1:08 PM

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