Resolute desk question

Allen L asks about the Resolute desk:

In some photos of the desk througout history there is a plaque on it. In some photos its on the front of the desk and in some its on the back (where someone would be seated) and now it doesn’t seem to be there at all. My questions are

1. If the plaque is no longer there..where is it? who had it removed and why?
and
2. Why is the plaque on different sides of the desk depending on the photo?

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13 thoughts on “Resolute desk question

  1. This is only a guess, but the desk looks identical from the front or the back, not counting the “peek-a-boo” door and the plaque section. I’m guessing that the door section can be installed on either side of the desk. So some presidents have chosen to have the plaque where he can see it, and others where his guests can see it. I haven’t seen a picture of GWB’s desk from his side of the desk to see if the plaque is gone completely.

  2. That’s correct. The desk comes apart in three pieces – left side, right side, and top. With the desk being so large, there are drawers on both sides, so the top can be put on either way and remain functional. In 1999, I saw the plaque in person on the “chair” or “back” side of the desk, and I’d sya it’s unlikely that it’s been removed since.

  3. They take it apart every time they have to move it for some reason. M ost often between administrations when they redecorate the oval office or when they lay down carpet.
    It all just depends on the way it is put back together afterwards.

  4. Yea, there is apicture of the oval office being redecorated with the desk in different pieces in one of my white house books. Il see if I can find it for you.

  5. Yea, there is apicture of the oval office being redecorated with the desk in different pieces in one of my white house books. Il see if I can find it for you.

  6. Yes I’ve seen pics of the top of it off on Inauguration Day 1993 as the OO was being readied for President Clinton

  7. I just read in Betty Monkman’s book that the door panel was not an original piece to the desk. FDR had commissioned it made sometime before he left for Warm Springs, GA in April 1945. FDR would conduct press briefings from behind his desk in the OO, and wanted to hide his leg braces from the press pool. (The press were paying more attention to his braces since his return from Yalta and his speech to Congress on March 1st, where he spoke to Congress while seated, and mentioned his leg braces.) FDR died while on his trip and the desk was completed for HST, who first used the desk in his Oval Study (YOR).

  8. The door to the Resolute desk is one of three places in the WH where the eagle is facing the “wrong way”. Truman reversed the way the eagle was facing after WW2 as the President should be looking towards peace (olive branches)rather than war (arrows.

    1-Resolute Desk
    2-Above the Diplomatic Reception Room
    3- Cornerstone of the East Wing

    The second resolute desk obviously does not have a door, but who knows if it has any kind of plaque on it.

  9. The door to the Resolute desk is one of three places in the WH where the eagle is facing the “wrong way”. Truman reversed the way the eagle was facing after WW2 as the President should be looking towards peace (olive branches)rather than war (arrows.

    1-Resolute Desk
    2-Above the Diplomatic Reception Room
    3- Cornerstone of the East Wing

    The second resolute desk obviously does not have a door, but who knows if it has any kind of plaque on it.

  10. I should clarify on #2

    Above the Diplomatic Reception Room DOOR, in the lower Cross Hall.

    My bad.

  11. Obviously, the EastWing and DRR door have it the “wrong” way because they were created/sculpted before Truman. The Eagle over the Diplomatic Reception Room door was originally in the floor of the State Floor Entrance Hall.

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