Major acquisition: original builder’s prints

STICKY POST

In 2008, I was contacted by Darren Dumont in Maine about some builder’s plans that had come into his possession from family and which dated back to the Truman reconstruction of the White House in 1948-1952. He looked into other offers but eventually decided that the White House Museum was the right venue for them, and in December we at last settled on a price. They are now in my possession.

These are big, 4-foot by 3-and-half foot documents (some smaller) with great detail, most of which are in good condition. Together with my copies of The Report of the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion, I feel like I have a real window into that very special time in the history of the White House.

The areas included are primarily basement and ground floor rooms, with some first and second floor areas. No particularly security-sensitive areas are included. In fact, everything in the plans is already covered in the White House Museum, but these provide fascinating detail about construction and dimensions, particularly about moldings and wall structure. One has an enlightening comparison of the windows in the East and West Sitting Halls. Another shows exactly how the president’s closet is constructed.

It is my privilege and pleasure to offer images of these documents on the White House Museum site. Please consider making a donation to help offset the cost of acquisition.

You can even sponsor a specific document. Half ($100) and full ($200) sponsorships are available for each document. The sponsor’s name will be attached to any images posted on the White House Museum site for as long as I own the documents (which should be a good long while) in the format “From the collection of Derek Jensen; sponsored in full by XXX” or “…sponsored by XXX and YYY”. Just click the Donate button under the document you’d like to sponsor (donate a second time for full sponsorship). THANKS!

My plan is to stabilize the documents to preserve them and to make high-resolution copies. Some of these I will likely make available for purchase at large size, suitable for framing. Should I do so, sponsors will be offered one gratis for each document sponsored.

Thanks, Darren Dumont, and thanks to all those who have written with compliments and suggestions over the years and made this site a pleasure.

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5 thoughts on “Major acquisition: original builder’s prints

  1. Derek, What a tremendous find. These documents will be studied down to the last detail by all of us that enjoy your site and the study of the White House. Jacqueline Kennedy herself would appreciate this find and would likely be the first to congratulate you on this acquisition. Great job, and thank you for sharing these amazing drawings with all of us.

  2. Amazing ! What a treasure and dream come true for any White House aficionado. I would love to see your idea of framed prints come to fruition!

  3. It’s my pleasure Derek. As I said before, thank you for sharing them with us. I hope others will sponsor the documents as well. This will ensure they can be restored and preserved for all those who are interested in the history of the White House. It could also make them available for those who would like their own copies. To those contemplating donating, it was a quick and easy transaction. So please don’t hesitate, you will be doing your part to preserve White House history.

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