The Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 19, 2012 · 91 comments

in Manly Knowledge

Just about two years ago, we wrote a post called 14 Famous Man Rooms, which offered a look at the rooms where over a dozen famous men wrote classic books, pondered big ideas, and tinkered with their inventions. Readers offered some really great additions in the comments, and we’ve come across more interesting, manly rooms in the interim, so we decided to put together a follow-up to that post. While the rooms in the former post ran the gamut from Frederick Douglass’ office to Frank Lloyd Wright’s drafting studio, this post focuses on libraries, writing rooms, and studies.

I don’t know about you, but visiting historical homes is one of my favorite things to do while on vacation. There’s something about being in the place where people lived and loved, the rooms where they paced anxiously, shed tears, and celebrated achievements, that really makes me feel connected to the past and to a man’s personal history in a way that fascinates and inspires me. If you can’t crisscross the globe this summer, come along with us for a tour through 15 rooms where famous men, both past and present, hatched and penned their influential words and ideas.

Rudyard Kipling’s Study

When Rudyard Kipling came upon the secluded, 17th century Bateman’s House in Sussex, he was immediately smitten. He wrote:

“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself] said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her–quick!’ We entered and felt her Spirit–her Feng Shui–to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”

The Feng Shui of Bateman’s was good to Kipling indeed. It was here in his study that he penned that manliest of manly poems–”If.”

William F. Buckley’s Study

If you were looking for William F. Buckley during his life, the first place to check was his study, which he converted from a garage. It was here, surrounded by mementos, books, and paintings (some of which he did himself), that he would toil on his columns and novels, and it was here that he was found dead when he passed away in 2008.

William Randolph Hearst’s Library & Study

The Library. Hearst was such a prolific collector of art, books, and antiques, that his castle was really built around how to display the collection that had formerly been sitting in warehouses, rather than the other way around. All of his books still couldn’t be fit into the castle’s two libraries however, leading him to stick them in odd places, such as in bookcases that lined the walls of his movie theater room.

Built in San Simeon, California by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, Casa Grande, or Hearst Castle as it is now known, boasted 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a movie theater, tennis courts, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo. Hearst himself lived in the castle’s third floor Gothic Suite. The floor’s library (seen above) housed more than 4,000 books, along with 150 vases from ancient Greece.

The Gothic Study. It held Hearst’s most prized books and manuscripts.

Photo Source

3,000 more books could be found in Hearst’s Gothic Study. The room served as a private library and office from which Hearst controlled his media empire and as an executive boardroom for discussing matters with his cohorts as well.

Be sure to also check out pics of the Hearst Castle’s billiards room, theater room, and indoor and outdoor pools — really unbelievable. This place is near the top of my to-visit list (Sagamore Hill — see below — currently holds the number one spot).

Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut

When Roald Dahl moved to Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire in 1965, he built a small writing hut (you can take a 3-D tour here) for himself. Dahl’s family has kept the hut much like it was when the author died, but even during his life it was a pretty dark, bare bones, ramshackle sort of place. No one could enter the hut but Dahl himself, and no one was allowed to clean it either; it reeked of tobacco and the floor was covered with pencil shavings and cigarette ash.

Within the hut, Dahl would sit in a big chair (because desks hurt the back he injured in WWII) and write on a large pad of paper (he didn’t type).

The solitude of his hut inspired Dahl’s creativity; he wrote all of his children’s stories from within its little walls. Here’s how Dahl described the power of the place:

“You become a different person, you are no longer an ordinary fellow who walks around and looks after his children and eats meals and does silly things, you go into a completely different world. I personally draw all the curtains in the room, so that I don’t see out the window and put on a little light which shines on my board. Everything else in your life disappears and you look at your bit of paper and get completely lost in what you’re doing. You do become another person for a moment. Time disappears completely. You may start at nine in the morning and the next time you look at your watch, when you’re getting hungry, it can be lunchtime. And you’ve absolutely no idea that three or fours hours have gone by.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Study

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived in his Windlesham home on the outskirts of Crowborough in East Sussex for 23 years. When he died there in 1930, his request was to be buried in a garden next to a writing hut he had built on the property. But during his life, he actually preferred to write in the study on the first floor of his home. There he penned several of his famous Sherlock Holmes works, including The Poison Belt, in which he describes the view looking out from his study and across the Crowborough Common to distant Rotherfield.

Oh, and speaking of Mr. Holmes, he had a nice den too…

Sherlock Holmes’ Study

Sherlock Holmes is of course a fictional character, but that hasn’t stopped folks from recreating his office from the descriptions given by his creator.

There is one at the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street:

And one at The Sherlock Holmes pub in Westminster:

Both look pretty cozy.

Jack London’s Study

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When the stone mansion (“Wolf House”) Jack London was building on his Sonoma Valley ranch burned down in 1913, he built a tranquil, windowed annex onto the large “cottage” he and his wife Charmian had been living in for years. The study–in which he penned his final stories and novels–was adjacent to his “sleeping porch.” Now that’s a room you don’t hear much about these days, and one I would love to have, especially with this kind of view!

Photo source

George Washington’s Study

The best feature of the room? A rocking chair that fanned you as you rocked.

George Washington’s study was built during the Revolutionary War as part of the expansion of his home. When the tired General returned to Mount Vernon in 1783, he was naturally called upon to entertain countless family, friends, politicians, and well-wishers. His study became the place where he could hide out and find solitude; no one was allowed in without an invitation. Here he could read one of his 884 books, oversee his estate, pen letters, and write in his diary. But he also used the room as a chamber for bathing and dressing. He would rise between 4-5 in the morning and make his way into the study via a private staircase that connected it to the master bedroom. In these two quiet hours before breakfast, he’d get ready for the day, review reports, and write letters. In the evening before bed, he’d be back in the study to discuss issues with his secretary or do some more reading before bed at 9 o’clock.

Neil Gaiman’s Writing Gazebo

Here’s what contemporary author Neil Gaiman said about his enviable, Mark Twain-esque writing gazebo in the book Shedworking:

“I had the gazebo built about 15 years ago, and go through phases of using it, and then I’ll abandon it for 5 years, then rediscover it with delight. I love walking to the bottom of the garden, and settling down to write.

Nothing ever happens down there. I can look out of the window and some wildlife will occasionally look back, but mostly it’s just trees, and they are only so interesting for so long, so I get back to writing, very happily.

There are heaters down there, because it gets cold here in winter, and blankets on the chairs, ditto, and I have to try and remember not to leave bottles of ink on the table as they freeze. It’s just out of reach of the house Wifi, too, which is a good thing.”

Winston Churchill’s Study

What is often overlooked about Winston Churchill is that his primary income — his only income when he was out of office — came from his writing. And he did the bulk of that writing, 50 books and hundreds of articles, from his study at Chartwell Manor, his main residence for forty years. With 20 foot ceilings crisscrossed with 11th century rafters, books spilling out from the bookcases and piled against every wall, paintings of Napoleon, Lord Nelson, and his wife, and a magnificent view of Chartwell’s picturesque gardens and lakes (which Churchill built himself), the study was the heart of the home, Churchill’s sanctuary, and the place he spent much of his time–often in the wee hours of the morning.

After Churchill’s favorite part of the day — a sumptuous 8:00 dinner, along with stimulating conversation and plenty of cigars, brandy, and port — Churchill would change out of his tuxedo and into a bathrobe and slippers before walking through the Tudor doorway of his study (which he called “the factory”) at about 10:30 or 11 pm. There he would pore over the galley proofs laid stacked on top of his upright table, sit and write on his mahogany desk, and dictate to his two secretaries who lived in residence on the property. After dictating 3-4,000 words, Churchill would dismiss his secretaries at about 2 or 3 in the morning and hit the sack.

Churchill delighted in working at an upright desk that had once belonged to Benjamin Disraeli.

Even when Churchill turned in for the night at 2 am, his secretaries’ work was not yet finished. They had to type up his dictations so they could be sent to London and turned into galley proofs that Churchill could look over and mark up the very next day.

Norman Mailer’s Apartment

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Norman Mailer’s apartment did not really have a dedicated library; rather, the whole apartment was a library of sorts, with bookshelves sitting against many of the walls and volumes stacked into various nooks and crannies. Seen here as it looked a few years after his death, and having been, according to his son “slightly feminized,” the Mailer-designed apartment has a nautical theme, complete with galley-like rooms and gangplank-esque walkways that lead to neat loft areas. Mailer designed the unique apartment partly to conquer his vertigo, and in his younger years, he hung a hammock between the rafters, a trapeze from the ceilings, and rope ladders from the different levels.

While this nook was Mailer’s study, he actually did not do any writing at home. To get away from distractions, he would write in a small, undecorated room down the block from his apartment.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Library & Gun Room

After Theodore Roosevelt’s Dakota cattle business failed, he came back East and built a home in Oyster Bay, NY. He called his estate Sagamore Hill, and he lived there until he died (with a stint in the White House, of course). It was where Roosevelt would go to relax, romp in the woods, and revitalize his man spirit. In addition to having a really manly trophy room, the home also included a nice library where TR would spend much of his time. Situated on the first floor of the home, it was decorated with animal skins from Roosevelt’s hunts, along with portraits of TR’s heroes.

While he was president, Roosevelt would sometimes turn Sagamore Hill into the “Summer White House,” meeting with politicians and dignitaries in the library while Secret Service agents were stationed at the doors.

The library had also served as Roosevelt’s study before he married his second wife Edith, but because it had become a social center in the house and a place for entertaining guests, he and Edith decided to turn a room on the third floor into his “sanctum,” a hide out where he could write undisturbed (although his children could still often persuade him to take a break). Originally known as “the den,” Theodore Jr. imparted its lasting nickname, the “Gun Room,” so called because it displayed TR’s and his son’s hunting arms, which, sadly, you cannot see in the only photo I have been able to find of the room:

Jay Walker’s Library

If William Randolph Hearst had lived in the 21rst century and been a lot geekier, this is what his library might have looked like. Created by the founder of Priceline.com, Jay Walker, to be a tribute to the human imagination, the 3,600 square foot library consists of three eye-popping levels, which were inspired by M.C. Escher’s famous sketches of floating stairs. The platforms are connected by glass-paneled bridges that allow you to see the first floor of the library as you stand on top of it. The railings are also made of glass, etched and illuminated with images depicting the discovery of great inventions and ideas. The library houses thousands of eclectic and rare books and artifacts, including one of seven surviving Sputniks, books bound in rubies and diamonds, fossilized dinosaur eggs, and the napkin upon which FDR scribbled his plan for winning WWII.

The fascinating details and images of Walker’s library are too numerous to recount here, so I recommend  checking out the articles here and here to learn more about it, and to get a better look, you can take a virtual tour in this video.

Darren Bush’s Shack

Okay, so Darren Bush isn’t famous in the traditional sense, but he’s famous around here as one of our contributing writers. I wanted to include the shack he built for himself, to give you some inspiration on what can be attainable even for the average Joe. Darren’s shack was inspired by the writing hut of author and conservationist Sigurd Olson, and he uses it for writing and getting away from it all. Here’s Darren describing how he built it with a friend:

“It took me about a year, start to finish, but it sat idle for six months while I scrounged parts (the windows, wood stove, chimney and some of the other stuff was recycled).  Once we had the stuff, it was up and sheathed in two days.  The roof took another few weeks working on it after work, as well as the siding.

The inside was done over a few months, just an hour or so when I could get away.  The furniture and stuff was scrounged, except for the table which was our old kitchen table refinished.  The chair was picked off the curb and reupholstered, the rocker was a snowshoe kit I built, and of course the stove tools were custom made [Darren is into blacksmithing].”

I’ve been trying to convince Darren to write some posts on just how he built his shack — I’m sure some encouraging comments from readers could help sway him!

Here are some pics of the inside of the shack:

What was your favorite room of the bunch? Be sure to check out 14 Famous Man Rooms for more studies, libraries, and writing rooms, along with manly rooms of other kinds!

 

{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chase Morgan June 19, 2012 at 9:07 am

“I’ve been trying to convince Darren to write some posts on just how he built his shack — I’m sure some encouraging comments from readers could help sway him!” Mr. Bush, this is something I am planning on doing myself here in the not-so-distant future and would love to see a guest post on how you built your shack, its simply amazing. There is not much better than something you forge with your own two hands.

Brett, Sangamore Hill is at the top of my “to see” list as well after reading about his incredible life in Edmund Morris’ book. As I just mentioned above, I am planning on building my own “barndaminium” shack to live in while I build my own home and have been looking online for some inspirational photos, thanks for doing the leg work for me, ha.

2 Turling June 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

I’ve been to Hearst Castle and it is quite impressive. Very much worth the drive. Keeping in mind, there isn’t anything else around it, either, so it isn’t really a destination. We stopped at it on our way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

And, the best in my opinion, is Mr. Bush’s. I don’t see any of the other great men with a beer on the corner of their desk. Deciding factor that is.

3 Bryan June 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

Big fan of Hemingway’s little writing apartment in Key West as well.

4 Kiloski June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

Darren, please leave an article on how to do something like that and around how much it cost you! That’s something I’d love to do and yours is incredible.

5 Will Russell June 19, 2012 at 10:45 am

Great post

6 Lucas W. June 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

another good one is Pablo Neruda’s house, at Chile. He was, indeed, a bon vivant. :)

7 Matt June 19, 2012 at 10:48 am

Can’t belive Sir Walter Scott’s incredible study at Abbotsford didn’t make the cut for this list. It’s an impressive and manly place to visit, if you ever are in Scotland.

8 Alexander June 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

Brett,
Awesome post, one of my favorites by far.

Thank you.

9 Craig Lyons June 19, 2012 at 11:20 am

If you happen to be in Honolulu, Iolani Palace has a pretty nice recreation of King Kalakaua’s library.

10 Craig Playstead June 19, 2012 at 11:38 am

Love this. I’m always curious as to where people write. I just got an old, ugly desk that I love writing at. But the little “huts” in the back are really cool.

11 Karl June 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

Whilst not a study or a writing room per se Dick Proenneke had an awesome cabin situated in Alaska where he lived for 30 years. I recommend you check it out along with his self-shot film “Alone in the wilderness”. Seriously excellent man-stuff! :)

12 David June 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

This collection is great, but incomplete without Jefferson’s study at Montecello.

13 Joshua June 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It think it’s important to point out that Hearst wasn’t a very manly man. He ruined the reputations of several celebrities (most notably J. Bruce Ismay of the Titanic) when they didn’t act the way Hearst portrayed them in his newspapers. Ismay helped women and children into the lifeboats and only got into a lifeboat when he was asked to get in and help row by Chief Officer Wilde. Hearst turned him into a scapegoat, calling him J. Brute Ismay and accusing him of sneaking off the ship. Hearst made a lot of money because he ruined several notable people. He didn’t act manly and report the facts, doing what he could honestly to sell his newspapers.

14 Kevin June 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

This is, in my opinion, one of the best articles ever posted to this blog. Well done.

Mr. Bush, please share your knowledge of how to build such a poetic and masculine structure with the rest of us – such treasurable information ought not be kept in private.

15 mike June 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm

James Madison’s Montpelier.

He only wrote much of the constitution there. And the Federalist papers.

16 Alexei June 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Something about Faulkner would be interesting!

17 Brenden Valks June 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Hey Darren,

Brett is right, we’d all love to know how you built your getaway/hideaway.

18 Trevor Meyer June 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm

You are my hero for listing Sagamore Hill here. After reading about TR and reading a description of “The Gun Room,” it’s great to finally see it. I’d love to visit it some day and perhaps base my own study off of it later on in life.

19 Gary June 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

While Darren’s shack is great, I’d be inclined to add a small covered porch to sit on and contemplate nature or whatever muse inspires.

20 Sean June 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Louis L’amours writing shack in North Dakota is also quite interesting, although it is set up more for tourists these days rather than being historically accurate.
S.

21 Brad June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm

This may be my favorite post on this site; seeing where others produced their works.

It is too hard to decide which one is best, though i have never been a fan of gazebos, preferring more enclosed shacks.

My least favourites were George Washington’s Study and Jay Walker’s library.

22 Jason Barker June 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Yet another post near and dear to my heart.I am fixing up my 10′x15′ shop to be my own study/thinking room.Kipling’s and London’s are tied for me.Darren Bush’s is more in line with mine.

23 Darren Bush June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Okay, I give. It might take awhile…hell, I might have to build another one. :-)

And not to disappoint, but those are NA Beers (Kaliber). :-)

I’ll get on it, including a list of things I wish I had done so you can learn from my multiple mistakes.

24 Darren Bush June 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I just noticed…this picture is at least six years old as a) the garden isn’t there and b) my old beloved German Shorhaired Pointer, Winnie, is in the lower left. Damn, I miss that dog…

25 neal June 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

holy awesomeness. I’m an aspiring writer, and I would literally kill to have access to some of these libraries to write in. Preferably something small that was going to die soon anyway, like bugs or moths or something. But anyway, this is a fantastic article, and I’m going to moon over these pictures for a while while I calculate just how long it would take me to earn enough with my writing to pay for one of these things. Might help if I lived to be 375 years old, too.

26 John W. June 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

No Thomas Jefferson?

His cabinet at Monticello is my inspiration for my study. He placed his bed in the wall between the cabinet and his dressing room to facilitate access.

27 Brett McKay June 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Some great additions so far!

@Bryan, David, John W.-

Jefferson and Hemingway were included in the “14 Famous Man Rooms” post we pointed folks to at the top and bottom of this article.

28 Levi Waddingham June 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Really looking forward to that article, thanks Darren! Thanks also to Brett and Kate for one of my favourite AOM posts.

29 dan born June 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm

building a “shed” or a “shack” really isnt all that difficult. did mine with only a powernailer, miter saw and skill saw. Its a great project i recommend for all guys. you dont need to be a carpenter to do it. Get google “sketch up” for free and design it on that, than get to work! i use mine 140 square foot shed for working on vintage motorcycles. its tight, but has enough space for a 9 foot bench and room to walk around a crusty old motorbike.
Great article!

30 David June 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Well, of course. Of course Theodore Roosevelt, the most crazy-awesome president we’ve ever had, had a room that was actually called the “Gun Room”.

And while you may say that it just had a few hunting rifles on display, I choose to believe that it was actually a room that was filled, floor to ceiling, with firearms.

It fits nicely with what I already know about the man.

31 Anthony June 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Tee-dee’s room was run-away favorite of mine!

32 Brad June 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

It is nice to have a quiet place to get away and reflect, read, study and write. I have nothing elaborate as the above pics (and I am not in a shed), but have an decent sized office / library / study / den off the kitchen with a a nice view out two windows. Sometimes the peace and quiet is so desperately needed.

33 Aaron June 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

You should check out the book “A Place of My Own” by Michael (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma); he built a great one room building for writing and it’s a great study on the balance betweem architecture and the practicality of building something that will last

34 Aaron June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

You should check out the book “A Place of My Own” by Michael (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma); it’s a great study on the balance between architecture and the practicality of building something that will last

35 Aaron June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

You should check out the book “A Place of My Own” by Michael Pollan (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma); it’s a great study on the balance between architecture and the practicality of building something that will last

36 Jeff June 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hemingway has another writing studio that a lot of folks don’t know about. It’s located in Piggott, Arkansas. Very interesting story behind this place. Here is the link if you care to see: http://hemingway.astate.edu/ernest.html

37 Aaron June 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Sorry for the multiple posts, I kept getting an error message from my iPhone when submitting.

38 Alain Racette June 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

As an LIS graduate, this is one of my fave articles on AoM! Love it!

And for those who haven’t, read the man room article that is linked at the bottom – great stuff!

39 Brannigan June 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have to say Darren Bush’s shack is the coolest and most manly of the bunch. I would love to learn how to build my own. Please share the plans and details of the build.

40 Jordan June 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

“I’ve been trying to convince Darren to write some posts on just how he built his shack — I’m sure some encouraging comments from readers could help sway him!”
Hear! hear!

41 Joseph June 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Thank you so much for this. The 14 Famous Man Caves article was the one that got me into the Art of Manliness to begin with and this was just as good. Thank you again.

42 Duffy June 20, 2012 at 2:42 am

Agree that Naruda’s would have been a good inclusion, especially considering the view(!) and how he got his desk (flotsam that took all day to wash in from the sea after a dream).

Arthur Miller also had a pretty kick-ass one too, especially when you think about Marilyn’s penchant for laying around naked as he wrote…

43 Tim Erickson June 20, 2012 at 2:42 am

When George Washington was “preparing for the day” at 5am he wasn’t just getting ready for work. He was reading his bible and spending time in prayer. George Washington was a great man of God and started his day off by dedicating two hours to the study of the Word.

44 Kirk June 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

Love the article but one tiny error I noticed “There he penned several of his famous Sherlock Holmes works, including The Poison Belt,” That isn’t a Sherlock Holmes story its a Prof. Challenger story.

45 Erica June 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Men’s rooms so much more interesting in almost every way. I cringed a little at the words “slightly feminized”.

46 Bill June 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Buckley was wearing shorts and a sweater. What? Only his top half gets cold? What would Antonio think?

47 Holmes June 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Just impressive pics… I am not much of a writer but I consider myself a thinker. I often need to take time away to think on some of the heavier decisions in life. I also would love to read in a spot like this…

48 Justin June 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Sigurd F Olson is one of my inspirations. I have been to “Listening Point” outside of Ely, MN and it inspired me as well. I have an old storage shed in the backyard and been thinking about tearing it down and starting over. May just decide to get on that…

49 Michael Pakaluk June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm

George Washington’s fan chair was not a rocker. I know because last week I took a tour of Mt Vernon and was able to study it; the guide also explained it. The chair had two foot pedals which, when you pumped them alternately, would cause the fan to sway. See: http://www.mountvernon.org/shop/shopping/three-dimensional-replica-washingtons-fan-chair

50 Nathan June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

He should *definitly* write a post (or several) on how he built the shack.

51 Ben June 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Great Post. I think each of the library’s reflect the man. Mark Twain also had a great place for writing. I have a “special room” for storing all my research material and books, but I do most of my reading and writing at my dining room table. Then I transport the first draft down to my storage. It is filled with book cases (three I made), a recliner, wood burning stove and personal memorabilia and two computers. Sorry no pictures are available.

52 Iceman June 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Excellent post. My eyes were opened to this type of refuge this past spring when a friend invited me to his cabin for a weekend. There is great mental and moral rejuvenation to be found in these places. And although I will never own an English country estate, I fully intend on having a place somewhere like Darren has someday.

53 anamitra ray June 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Wonderful! Amazing! Excellent!

54 Lex June 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I was really amazed at Buckley’s mess. Although, with his mind, he may have well known where just about everything was.

Great pics and ideas.

55 just me June 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I have been to Sagamore hill twice – it’s a fascinating, inspiring place – it’s like you can still feel TR’s energy there.. Unfortunately, it’s closed for three years for extensive renovations.

56 jb June 21, 2012 at 12:08 am

C. S. Lewis’ would have been something to see.

57 mts1 June 21, 2012 at 3:16 am

Hemingway’s writing shack, though shack is too lowly a word – he had an immaculate writing room above his garage, which had a rope bridge leading from the house to the room, the only way to get there. Considering his drinking career while in Key West, I wonder how he didn’t die from falling from it before he shot himself.

58 Jerod June 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

How about an article showing how everyday guys have turned an extra room in the house into something awesome. Spare Bedroom, den, etc. I’m getting stonewalled with my own ideas of what is cool in my new office space in our home…

59 Mitch June 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

While Roosevelt’s, Churhill’s, and Doyle’s rooms strike me because I strongly admire those men, I most identified with Darren’s room. I would love to build a little shack like his to to bask in the outdoors, write, read, and handload in solitude! Darren definitely needs to write that article on building his shack!

60 Daniel Boettner June 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

This is a nice reading, but it appears to me that you may have focused on english speaking men.

You may have missed the greatest writers.
Friedrich Schiller, Goethe, … ?

61 Brendan Callan June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Mr. Bush Stop Your writing is interesting Stop I feel its’ interior is very much like something Sir Ernest Shackleton may have enjoyed Stop The wooden interior is very adventur-esque Stop Happy travels in writing Stop

62 Arlen Ramses June 23, 2012 at 12:39 am

Any studies of Black/African American writers?

63 Doug June 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

The only one of these rooms I have visited is George Washingon’s at Mt Vernon and back then in my late twenties the experience moved me and I committed to setting up my room.. ( newly married and with one child, I had no such space at the time) My wife considers it a bit selfish of me, but it fills an important need. I don’t mind my sons using it, but I like them to follow some rules.

64 Doug June 24, 2012 at 8:24 am

… and the office of Lt Col Jeff Cooper.. was an incredible man for our modern times.
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/02/14/lt-col-jeff-coopers-man-cave/

65 TimJ June 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I may be biased as caretaker, but in the 2 articles about this one of the most influential writers in American history hasn’t been included.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson study, where he penned “Self Reliance” among other manly works, is well deserving of inclusion on these illustrious lists of manly writing rooms.

66 Rob E Bender June 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

My favorite was Jay Walkers study. Creativity blooms only when a man can be free to dream.

67 James June 26, 2012 at 7:53 am

Excellent list but I feel that George Bernard Shaw’s rotating writing hut would have been a worthy inclusion.

68 Emily June 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

It’s almost voyeuristic to get a look into such private domains but it really makes the writers seem more human, doesn’t it? I was just at the Old Library of Trinity College Dublin and, although not a private study, was home to many a great Irish writer. http://www.tcd.ie/Library/bookofkells/old-library/

69 Matthew June 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Brett,
Have you ever been to the Marland Mansion in Ponca City?

Great piece of OK history (and not too far out of your way!).

Thanks. Enjoyed the post.

70 Thomas June 26, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I’m a big fan of Buckley and his study!

71 Michael June 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

I’ve been to Roosevelt’s room at Sagamore hill and it’s even better than the pictures can communicate. After reading much of his writings and writings about his life stepping into his room made it all real. A must see!

72 Cary June 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm

True man caves!! Men actually read and wrote, gained and imparted knowledge. How rare these days.

73 Dirk June 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

Come on guy! Tell us how you built that hut!

74 Randy June 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Einstein’s desk was pretty awesome. It was very simple and a mess. Guy just did strait work.

75 Rob July 1, 2012 at 2:59 am

I had the pleasure of visiting Mt Vernon and Monticello when I was in the US a couple of years ago – they are both beautiful homes, but to stand in the rooms that had been so important to Washington and Jefferson and in creating the USA was awe-inspiring, even for me from the other side of the world!

76 Geg July 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm

One note on Washington’s study; The white servant’s dining area (which is in the dank, humid basement of Mount Vernon) is right below the study. Washington had the floor beneath the study sound proofed so no one in the basement could overhear private conversations.

77 Matt July 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

The library inside of the Biltmore house is also very impressive.

http://honeymoons.about.com/od/northcarolina/ss/biltmore_estate_3.htm

78 Bret July 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

The last one is by far my favorite. Nothing against the historical and/or multimillionaire “man rooms,” but there’s something charming about the everyman’s hideaway.

@Turling: That beer on the desk is actually Kaliber, a N/A or “near beer.” Clearly this man practices moderation, which is admirable…or it could be because he was swinging a hammer and doing so while inebriated can be -ahem- hazardous to oneself and those around him. I’m going to assume the former.

79 Keegan July 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I love all of them, but I have to say that Winston Churchill’s is my favorite.

80 Matt B July 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I gotta say, I think Darren’s is my favorite. I’m an outdoorsman myself(hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, frog gigging), so most anything that embodies that spirit is a treat for me. I’m setting up a room in my house similar to that, since I live in the city and can’t have anything other than a toolshed in the backyard. When I’m done, it’ll have a futon, writing desk, gun cabinet, umbrella urn containing walking stick, hiking staff, umbrella, and boar hunting spear, pipe and cigar box, and an archery rack. The only problem then will be keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter.

81 Joe Commers October 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

I loved most of them but especially I liked Winston Churchill’s. I also liked his idea of a stand up desk that he worked at alot of the time into the early morning hours.

82 Steve Calvert November 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I’ve really enjoyed reading this article and all of the pictures, of course. Roald Dahl’s writing hut was my favorite until I saw Darren’s bush shack—very nice!

I also like Neil Gaiman’s writing gazebo, but I would not feel comfortable working in there because there are too many windows, it would be like working in a greenhouse and I need privacy when I am working.

83 Sequoyah February 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I really think Jascha Heifetz’s legendary (amongst violinists, at least) studio should have made it on to one of these lists. Please keep it in consideration if you decide to make another!

84 Brigid Ahreum April 24, 2013 at 12:45 am

The rooms echo influential words

85 Lee June 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

I’ll take Holmes’ study at the museum. It is absolutely a picture of my idea study in almost every detail!

86 Don June 20, 2013 at 10:15 am

One of my favorite posts. We visited Benjamin Harrison’s home when we were in Indianapolis and we’re both hooked on seeing homes of successful people. Do more of these, please!

87 Matthew June 21, 2013 at 6:49 am

I would love to see a post on building a writing shack. It only makes sense to me that the best place to write or get away from everything is a place totally disconnected from anything, and the greatest feeling can come from a place you build yourself. Mr. Bush should feel proud of his work!

88 David June 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have really been wanting to build a writing shack. Please get Darren to write about it!

89 Anita Monroe June 21, 2013 at 11:14 am

The first writer’s lair that I ever saw was that of John C. Calhoun, a separate little house behind the “Calhoun Mansion” in the center of what is now Clemson University. It has a big desk, comfortable chair, and the walls are covered by maps of his era. Local children are given tours, and it is still open for public view.

90 Charles Behlen October 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

In the early ’70s I moved into a Model T garage apartment. I was a struggling young poet at the time and found the place to be a kind of heaven on earth. It had a tin roof, white stucco siding and was a little bigger than Thoreau’s cabin. Favorite memory: a predawn breakfast of Earl Grey tea and oatmeal while reading George Herbert by TV light during a particularly vocal blizzard. Look the place up on Google Maps (225 W. Crosby; Slaton, Texas) and share my grief at what forty years of neglect can do to a precious memory.

91 Sebastian December 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

“The Feng Shui of Bateman’s was good to Kipling indeed. It was here in his study that he penned that manliest of manly poems–”If.” ” —- I always forget about the website but when I do find it again, I’m always reminded by how awesome it is! That particular poem (If) is my personal favourite, and reassuring that poetry can still be manly to appreciate in our modern world/society. A salute to you!

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