The old-timey West Wing

I’ve delved into my collection and the Library of Congress and created a new page to better illustrate the pre-FDR Executive Office Building, which became the West Wing.

Telegraph roomPeter Weil wrote to me with this better copy of an image I have of the White House telegraph room around 1906 asking for any more information anyone might have. I believe it’s the Telegraph and Communications Office just off the Secretary’s Office and that the man at the back is operating an early telephone switchboard while the others work at telegraphs and/or early teletype machines. The regal central figure may be composited in, I think.

If you’d like a history treat, download one or two of the high-resolution images from the Library of Congress and take a good look at the calendars, books on the desks, and so on. In this one, it is December 23, 1908, and one of the president’s assistants has been reading up on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs.

Bonus: The New York Times of 1910 on “Pity the Sorrows of the President’s Secretary” (referring here to the position now known as “chief of staff”). I liked it so much I added a quote to the CoS office page

Of all the places under the American flag, next to the presidency itself, that of the President’s secretary would seem to be just about the jolliest and best. … If he has a world of tact, or a skin like that of a rhinoceros, or can lie like a thief and can grin with good nature when he is found out in his lies, he will probably enjoy the job.

3 thoughts on “The old-timey West Wing

  1. I’m here watching the WH Correspondents’ Dinner and they showed a clip of Bill Clinton’s video for the event from 2000.

    Thanks to the great YouTube, I found the video:

    There are some decent clips of the WH communications office area and WH hallways.

Comments are closed.