Grand staircase decorations

Ndkott (and JFK) wonders about the nature of the designs around the grand staircase. I think they are emblems of each of the original 13 states, but I’m not sure. Any better answers?

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5 thoughts on “Grand staircase decorations

  1. Derek, you are correct. I spoke with the White House curators office and they confirmed your suggestion, that they do indeed stand for the original 13 colonies.
    Jack M.

  2. Yep. The 13 original colonies. Note that there are 5 on each side of the opening and 3 at the top of the opening.

    These are some of the “moderne” design elements that William Seale points out in “The White House, The History of an American Idea” are somewhat at odds with the historical detailing of the house – but he also points out that the house always reflects the nuances of the times. I mean the house *was* rebuilt during the mid-20th century and is bound to reflect that. As it probably should.

  3. The couple standing next to the Kennedys are Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court(1953-1969)and Mrs Earl Warren. They probably were attending the annual dinner the President has for the Supreme Court.

  4. I believe the photo is of the President and Mrs. Kennedy and the justices of the Supreme Court and their wives at the annual White House judicial reception. The photographed reception was held on Wednesday November 20, 1963 and marked Mrs. Kennedy’s resumption of her public duties following the death of her infant son Patrick. President and Mrs. Kennedy left for a planned four day trip to Texas the following day. William Manchester provides a highly detailed description of the reception in his book “The Death of a President.” White House usher J. B. West also provides a description of the event in his book

  5. Mary Barelli Gallagher in “My Life With Jacqueline Kennedy” also cites the Judicial reception as it was a reception to which she was invited – maybe for the first time. She expressed her disappointment in Jackie’s attire in that of all the lovely dresses she had, she chose to wear a suit. Indeed, it was just before the fateful trip to Dallas.

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