UPDATE: Link to a new WH video on the Sit Room.
No, it’s not eating flowers; that’s Homer Simpson’s secret shame. Dr. Sanjay Gupta got Laura Bush to claim that she has stopped smoking. Reluctant in the past to reveal the first lady’s sordid habit, WH correspondents may take the claim as a challenge and get a few photos of the more obscure corners of the WH exterior where Laura might be sneaking a smoke.
As I promised previously, I’ve now added floor plans for the Residence second floor around 1863 and around 1880. However, comparing them side by side suggests that the 1863 diagram (a modern drawing from Seale’s 2-volume The White House) has the old west stair wrong. It looks like the artist drew in the original west stair to me.
Also, I improved the 1901 second floor plan and added it to the second floor page. And I added all the floor plans to the appropriate renovation pages.
I got a very nice reply from Renée Gravois at the Johnson Library about LBJ’s Oval Office furnishings.
An antique desk was found in the Senate Office building for LBJ’s use in his ranch office. This was a pedestal desk of late Sheraton or early Regency design, made of Honduran mahogany. Johnson liked this desk so much that he asked Joe Duke, Sergeant of Arms at the Senate for another desk for his Majority Leader office. The Senate cabinet shop made a desk just like the antique one, and inset green tooled leather on top surface. Maybe it was a little too much like the original—blocks had to be added under the ball fee to raise it up for LBJ. He then used it in his VP office and later in the Oval Office.
After it was installed in the Oval Office, Frank Stanton and others removed the blocks under the feet and added an extra row of molding above them to make up for the difference. A cane modesty panel was added at the same time.
Gravois also included some information about the reproductions of other furniture in the Library’s Oval Office. However, there’s no answer (yet, at least) about exactly when LBJ swapped the Boudin run for Truman’s.
I recently added an 1803 state floor plan to complement the 1853 plans I had added a short while ago. I wish I had a matching 1803 second floor, but the first floor shows, I believe, one of the prime differences between the 1800 mansion and the 1817 mansion: the strange and awkward original grand stair at the west end of the Cross Hall. (Oh, what I would give for a contemporary etching of Jefferson on that stair…).
I also have a plan from around 1880, and I thought I had one from 1864 or so, which would have shown the house as Lincoln knew it, with the private passage thru today’s Treaty Room to his office. Look for these soon.