A TOUR OF THE STATE DINING ROOM
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) JFK+50 will be taking the next few blog posts to discuss the rooms we will be touring in our self-guided tour of the White House next week.
Today we will take a look at the STATE DINING ROOM*. This room served as President Thomas Jefferson's office from 1801-1809, but his successor, James Madison, turned it into a dining room. Since then, it has been used for receptions, luncheons, and formal and state dinners.
Undergoing renovation in 1902 and 1952, the State Dining Room was converted to an Empire Style during the Kennedy years. The paneling was painted bone white and the silver plated chandelier was gilded. In addition, previous presidents had an E-shaped or horseshoe arrangement, while the Kennedys changed it to rounds permitting more socializing during dinners.
It was here where President John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Nobel Prize winners on April 29, 1962 with the words...
"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of...human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
First Lady Michelle Obama had a new wool rug installed along with new silk window draperies. The centerpiece is a French gilded bronze plateau purchased by President James Monroe in 1817. The mantel was reproduced from the 1902 installation in 1962.
The portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the State Dining Room was the work of George P.A. Healy and bequeathed to the White House by Mrs. Robert Todd Lincoln in 1939.
*The State Dining Room is 48 by 36 feet & seats 140. During the Teddy Roosevelt years the room sported animal heads on the walls. Those were removed in the 1920s.
"A Guide to the Public Rooms of the White House," January 2009, Office of the Curator, The White House^
^JFK+50 offers a note of appreciation to Mr. David Bland for making available to us the copy of this booklet.
"Remarks at a Dinner Honoring Nobel Prize Winners of the Western Hemisphere," The American Presidency Project, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/
"State Dining Room," The White House Museum, www.whitehousemuseum.org/
State Dining Room