Tuesday, January 7, 2014


East Room c.1860
 In the 1860s under Abraham Lincoln the chandeliers in the East Room of the White House (above) look enormously heavy, compressed between a patterned ceiling and a patterned floor. By 1904 under Theodore Roosevelt the carpet had vanished, ceilings and walls had been smoothly classicized, and chandeliers of greater discretion installed.

East Room 1904

East Room 1904

East Room Postcard

East Room Wainscot
Yet in the Great Corridor Wing of 1902 there was no comparable effort to historicize the atmosphere. (Discovering the intended purpose of the Great Corridor Wing in 1902 might make a good research project.)

Grand Corridor Wing 1902

Old Green Room c.1860

Green Room 1904
 It seems certain that the State Dining Room shown below in 1904 and in 1906 reflected the taste of Theodore Roosevelt again, with animal heads protruding from every cornice. I found a picture (at bottom) of the official White House taxidermist. When photographed in 1923 he had been on the job for more than fifty years. The picture was said to show him "renovating" a few of the trophies left behind by the Great Hunter, but I somehow have private doubts about whether they ever went up on the walls again at all.

State Dining Room 1904

State Dining Room 1906

White House Taxidermist 1923