Ike-o-rama

Andy send a note tipping me off to some Eisenhower WH photos now available on the Ike Library site. Great mansion interiors and exteriors and color Oval Office snaps! Wow! More here

Thanks Andy! I’ll get right to work on these. The WHM has been light on Ike all along.

UPDATE: Stuck in ORD for three hours, I added 16 Ike-era images, which nicely filled in holes on a dozen pages. Check out the porthole TV in the West Sitting Hall!

Andy’s link to the Kennedy before-and-after photos. These are already included in the WHM.

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8 thoughts on “Ike-o-rama

  1. Great pictures! Thanks to Andy for sharing these links with us!

    Boy – Ike wasn’t much on the decorative arts, was he? He kept a pretty spare Oval Office. Although he was an artist himself – and a pretty decent one at that.

    Oh well – Ike *did* give us the Interstate Highway System…

  2. Derek – I believe the Eisenhowers accepted the gift of Federal furniture for the Diplomatic Reception Room – which is still in place almost 50 years later – in 1960, instead of 1956, as shown under that picture.

  3. This is almost too much for a Monday morning! I had to sit down and cool off! Bring me a wet cloth!

    Some observations:

    For most of the Ike years, the Lincoln portrait was not above the State Dining Room fireplace. Not only is it not in these photos, it is not in the photo of the DR in the 1960 Nat’l Geographic spread.

    Did you notice that in the “e” table arrangement that the outside “wings” of the table usually had chairs on only one side?

    Two narrow (antique?) mirrors appear on the south wall of the STDR in later pictures. These were moved by JBK to the Blue Room, pre-Boudin. So, the STDR photo with the south mirrors is later than the photos without them.

    Even though the house furniture was often not historic or museum quality, it still looked pretty good in photographs. The Ike Red Room looks pretty rich and formal in spite of the lack of antique furniture. The ugliest furniture, I think, was in the Dipolomatic Reception room. I’m glad that Mamie got to accept the antiques from the AIA before they left the White House.

    Her holiday decorations were really something! But, she did start a concentrated effort to really make the WH beautiful at Christmas. One can only imagine what JBK would have thought of the Halloween decorations.

    As much as Ike and Mamie smoked, I note that none of the state table settings include cigarettes as they did under JBK and in later years.

    The Eisenhowers were the perfect presidential couple for the 1950s post-WW II years!

    P.S. I tried to go to Andy’s site, but I have no idea of what the weird symbol is that comes in the second and third groups of letters. Help!

  4. The photo of the West Sitting Hall shows us two doors on the right (north) side near the curtained fan window. The dressed out doorway leads to what today is the family kitchen. What was the purpose of the not-so-hidden door just west of it, since removed?

  5. That “blind” door used to go into a small vestibule for the service elevator, if I’m not mistaken. When Jackie Kennedy turned the small NW corner bedroom into a kitchen to service her new upstairs Dining Room, there was no longer a need to protect the privacy of that bedroom and the elevator was accessed from the hallway back into the new kitchen – the “dressed out” door you mention. Then the old elevator doorway out into the West Sitting Hall was filled in, bacause it was no longer needed.

    I’ve always wondered if the totally cool porthole TV’s are still there, behind a mirror or something! There used to be one in the Yellow Oval Room as well – just to the right of the door into the Center Hall.

  6. The Eisenhower pictures are great!
    It is hard to believe that a department store (B. Altman) won the contract to decorate much of the post-renovation Truman White House. Isn’t that where Lucy and Ethel bought their “better” clothes?
    However, I think the overall effect was quite good. On the state floor, I like the jewel tone silk wallcoverings in the three state parlors. I like the look of the Truman/Eisenhower Red Room especially. The fire engine red wallcovering with the lipstick pink upolstery is glitzy and elegant- in a 50’s sort of way.
    Actually the Red Room did have some antiques: The sofa by the fireplace (1850’s) and the four Hepplewhite style armchairs. The armchairs made the cut with JBK, as they were later used in the 2nd floor Center Hall.
    Some pre-Kennedy rooms look better. The East Sitting Hall looks much more comfortable and elegant in its B. Altman decoration. Jackie and S. Boudin made the same space look sparse and dreary with their redo. And that ugly “Monroe” sofa on the south wall in the East Hall is totally wrong with the other furniture. I think that they also changed the wall colour of the Lincoln Bedroom from yellow to white- which made the room look washed out and even less Lincoln-esque.
    I remember that Clement Conger who worked with Mrs Nixon was hightly critical of the Kennedy/Boudin renovations- as were the Kennedys regarding the Truman redo.
    Does anyone think that when Hillary becomes President all the Bush II changes will be thrown out?

  7. I know that the Eisenhower’s were passed over on the redecoration funds that other admins got and get, due to the very recent Truman renovation, but really couldn’t Ike have done SOMETHING with the Oval? I guess no one can say he wasted tax payers money on decorating the Oval Office. He’d have probably preferred only a card table and four chairs and an indoor putting green.

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