Resolute desk

I’ve added several photos of the Resolute desk with high resolution versions after getting a request for detailed images.

Rod notes that JFK was apparently the only president to use the desk “wrong way around” with the plaque facing outward. It is, of course, a partner desk, so it is designed (without the kneehole modesty panel) to be used by two people at the same time, so it has drawers on both sides, concealed by doors. JFK must have had the modesty panel refitted so he could turn the desk around and the plaque could be read by visitors. The modesty panel was requested by FDR and added by Truman (after FDR’s death).

13 thoughts on “Resolute desk

  1. The plaque on the desk is, I believe, attached to the face of one of the drawers. JFK probably just had the drawers switched instead of the modesty panel, probably a lot easier to accomplish!

  2. NBC News Goes “Inside Obama White House” For Prime Time Special

    Brian Williams anchors an NBC News special “Inside the Obama White House” which will air in one-hour installments next Tuesday and Wednesday night at 9pmET/PT.

    More than a dozen crews and cameras will be placed throughout the White House this Friday. And Williams will interview Pres. Obama next Tuesday, the day before the president leaves for a trip to the Middle East and Europe.

    This is the seventh installment over the last 40 years of this NBC News series. “This is one of the greatest traditions in all of broadcast television,” said Williams in a press release. “We will show aspects of life in the White House — the Obama White House — that no one on the outside has ever seen before.”

    NBC’s last “Inside the White House” special was in 2002 during the George W. Bush administration and was anchored by Tom Brokaw.

    More information can be found at

  3. Colton, thank you very much for the heads up about the NBC special! You might want to put a reminder post here Monday afternoon for everyone. I know CNN always has a camera pointed to the White House and we see it all the time on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer…is there any cameras, city web cams or news cams that is always pointed at The White House that we can log onto via the internet and see 1600 Pennsalvania Ave?

  4. NBC News Goes “Inside Obama White House” For Prime Time Special

    Preview clips already posted at

  5. The first time I saw the Resolute desk “in person” was in Philadelphia in 1964, when it went on tour to raise funds for the JFK Library. President Johnson allowed it to leave the White House, in deference to Mrs. Kennedy. That probably is the only time it ever has been out of the White House since it was delivered to President Hayes in 1880.

    Now, anyone can buy a replica of that desk for as low as $4,000.00 on eBay. The replicas are made of mahogany instead of oak, but they look quite like the original, at least in photographs.

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