Schuyler likely worked on personal, political, and military business from this room, perhaps from a round-about chair like the one on display, designed for writing [read about the green round-about chair]. You will see evidence of the canal system he worked to build as founder and president of the Northern and Western Inland Lock and Navigation Company; his map
making as New York State Surveyor; his business affairs as manager of a 20,000 acre industrial estate in Saratoga County; and his military career where he served first during the French and Indian War under the command of John Bradstreet, and then during the American Revolution as Major General under the command of George Washington. Throughout, and even after his military service, Philip Schuyler was operating a "Cabinet Noir" and spy network out of Albany. He was writing encoded letters, reading the majority of mail that was sent through Albany, and had agents, including some masquerading as Loyalists, who would report back to him with sensitive information, which was used to gain advantage in several battles throughout the Revolution. [Philip wasn't the only Schuyler interested in military intelligence; read about Angelica and women's military activity]
A page from a 1780 letter from John Jay to Philip
Schuyler requesting Schuyler "send me a Plan and
Explanation of the Cypher you once shewed me at
Rhynebeck", referring to a Vigenère cypher which
used head slave Prince's name to encode letters.
Though the Library was a private study, Philip occasionally invited guests, including John Jay and Benjamin Franklin, into this space for conversation, study, or to view his papers, all the while attended by servants bound to the family. [Read about Lewis, Schuyler's coachman who served Benjamin Franklin on one such visit] Alexander Hamilton used Philip’s library to study for his bar exams beginning in 1782. A young Aaron Burr also received such an invitation after establishing his law firm in Albany. Conversations in the library could continue well into the night, with the enslaved bringing in regular refreshments and tending to the candles as the evening wore on with discussions of politics, military affairs, business, or horticulture.