Oval Office

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President Joe Biden on the night of his inauguration, 2021
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office, 2021

The Oval Office is the formal working space of the president of the United States. Part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, it is located in the West Wing of the White House, in Washington, D.C.

The oval-shaped room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk and a fireplace at the north end. It has two built-in bookcases, and four doors: the east door opens to the Rose Garden; the west door leads to a private study and dining room; the northwest door opens onto the main corridor of the West Wing; and the northeast door opens to the office of the president's secretary.

Presidents generally decorate the office to suit their personal taste, choosing furniture, drapery, and often commissioning their own oval-shaped carpet. Artwork is selected from the White House's own collection, or borrowed from museums for the length of the president's term in office.

Cultural history[edit]

The Oval Office has become associated in Americans' minds with the presidency itself through memorable images, such as a young John F. Kennedy, Jr. peering through the front panel of his father's desk, President Richard Nixon speaking by telephone with the Apollo 11 astronauts during their moonwalk, and Amy Carter bringing her Siamese cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang to brighten her father President Jimmy Carter's day. Several presidents have addressed the nation from the Oval Office on occasion. Examples include Kennedy presenting news of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), Nixon announcing his resignation from office (1974),[1] Ronald Reagan following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (1986),[2] and George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks (2001).[3]


President's House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. George Washington's bow window (not depicted) is echoed in the shape of the Oval Office.

Washington's bow window[edit]

George Washington never occupied the White House. He spent most of his presidency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which served as the temporary national capital for 10 years, from 1790–1800, while Washington, D.C. was under construction.

In 1790, Washington built a large, two-story, semi-circular addition to the rear of the President's House in Philadelphia, creating a ceremonial space in which the public would meet the president.[4] Standing before the three windows of this bow window, he formally received guests for his Tuesday afternoon audiences, delegations from Congress and foreign dignitaries, and the general public at open houses on New Year's Day, the Fourth of July, and his birthday.

Washington received his guests, standing between the windows in his back drawing-room. The company, entering a front room and passing through an unfolding door, made their salutations to the President, and turning off, stood on one side.[5]

President John Adams occupied the Philadelphia mansion beginning in March 1797, and used the bow window in the same manner as his predecessor.[6]

Curved foundations of Washington's bow window were uncovered during a 2007 archaeological excavation of the President's House site.[7] They are exhibited under glass at the President's House Commemoration, just north of the Liberty Bell Center.[8]

White House[edit]

Architect James Hoban visited President Washington in Philadelphia in June 1792, and would have seen the bow window.[9] The following month Hoban was named winner of the design competition for the White House.

The "elliptic salon" at the center of the White House was the outstanding feature of Hoban's original plan. Oval rooms became common in early-19th-century neoclassical architecture.

In November 1800, John Adams became the first president to occupy the White House. He and his successor, President Thomas Jefferson, used Hoban's oval rooms in the same ceremonial manner that Washington had used the bow window, standing before the three windows at the south end to receive guests.[10]

During the 19th century, a number of presidents used the White House's second-floor Yellow Oval Room as their private office or library. This cultural association between the president and an oval room was more fully expressed in the Taft Oval Office (1909).

West Wing[edit]

Theodore Roosevelt Executive Office and Cabinet Room, c.1904

The West Wing was the idea of President Theodore Roosevelt, brought about by his wife's opinion that the second floor of the White House, then shared between bedrooms and offices, should be solely a domestic space. Completed in 1902, the one-story Executive Office Building was intended to be a temporary structure, for use until a permanent building was erected on that site or elsewhere.[11] Siting the building to the west of the White House allowed for the removal of a vast, dilapidated set of pre-Civil War greenhouses that had been constructed by President James Buchanan.[12]

Roosevelt moved the offices of the executive branch into the newly constructed wing in 1902. His workspace was a two-room suite of Executive Office and Cabinet Room, occupying the eastern third of the building. Its furniture, including the president's desk, was designed by architect Charles Follen McKim and executed by A. H. Davenport and Company, of Boston.[13] Now much altered, the 1902 Executive Office survives as the Roosevelt Room, a windowless interior meeting room diagonally opposite the Oval Office.

Taft Oval Office: 1909–1933[edit]

Taft Oval Office, completed 1909. Nearly identical in size to the modern office, it was damaged by fire in 1929 and demolished in 1933.

President William Howard Taft made the West Wing a permanent building, doubling its size by expanding it southward, and building the first Oval Office.[14] Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth and completed in 1909, the office was centered on the building's south facade, much as the oval rooms in the White House are. Taft wanted to be more involved with the day-to-day operation of his presidency, and intended the office to be the hub of his administration. The Taft Oval Office had ample natural light from its three windows and skylight. It featured a white marble mantel, simple Georgian Revival woodwork, and twin glass-doored bookcases. It also was likely the most colorful presidential office in history; its walls were covered with vibrant seagrass green burlap.[15]

On December 24, 1929, during the first year of President Herbert Hoover's administration, a fire severely damaged the West Wing. Hoover used this as an opportunity to create additional space, excavating a partial basement for staff offices. He restored the Oval Office, upgrading the quality of trim and installing air-conditioning. He also replaced the furniture, which had undergone no major changes in twenty years.

Modern Oval Office: 1934–present[edit]

Location of the Oval Office in the West Wing.
Franklin D. Roosevelt in the newly completed Modern Oval Office, December 31, 1934.

Dissatisfied with the size and layout of the West Wing, President Franklin D. Roosevelt engaged New York architect Eric Gugler to redesign it in 1933. To create additional staff space without increasing the apparent size of the building, Gugler excavated a full basement, added a set of subterranean offices under the adjacent lawn, and built an unobtrusive "penthouse" story. The directive to wring the most office space out of the existing building was responsible for its narrow corridors and cramped staff offices. Gugler's most visible addition was the expansion of the building eastward for a new Cabinet Room and Oval Office.[16]

The modern Oval Office was built at the West Wing's southeast corner, offering Roosevelt, who was physically disabled and used a wheelchair, more privacy and easier access to the Residence. He and Gugler devised a room architecturally grander than the previous two offices, with more robust Georgian details: doors topped with substantial pediments, bookcases set into niches, a deep bracketed cornice, and a ceiling medallion of the Presidential Seal. Rather than a chandelier or ceiling fixture, the room is illuminated by light bulbs hidden within the cornice that "wash" the ceiling in light.[17] In small ways, hints of Art Moderne can be seen, in the sconces flanking the windows and the representation of the eagle in the ceiling medallion. Roosevelt and Gugler worked closely together, often over breakfast, with Gugler sketching the president's ideas. One notion resulting from these sketches that has become fixed in the layout of the room's furniture is that of two high back chairs in front of the fireplace. The public sees this most often with the president seated on the left and a visiting head of state on the right. This allowed Roosevelt to be seated, with his guests at the same level, de-emphasizing his inability to stand without help. Construction of the modern Oval Office was completed in 1934.


Plaster ceiling medallion installed in 1934 includes elements of the Seal of the President of the United States.

The basic Oval Office furnishings have been a desk in front of the three windows at the south end, a pair of chairs in front of the fireplace at the north end, a pair of sofas, and assorted tables and chairs. The Neoclassical mantel was made for the Taft Oval Office in 1909 and salvaged after the 1929 West Wing fire.[18] A tradition of displaying potted Swedish ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) atop the mantel goes back to the administration of John F. Kennedy, and the current plants were rooted from the original plant.

A Federal longcase clock, made in Boston by John and Thomas Seymour c. 1795–1805 – commonly known as the Oval Office grandfather clock – was purchased by the White House Historical Association in 1972, and has stood next to the Oval Office's northeast door since 1975.[19]

President Harry S. Truman replaced the Oval Office's 23-year-old dark green carpet in 1947. He had revised the Seal of the President of the United States after World War II, and his blue-gray carpet incorporated the 1945 revised Seal, represented monochromatically through varying depths of its cut pile. The Truman carpet remained in the office through the Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy administrations. Jacqueline Kennedy's redecoration of the Oval Office began on November 21, 1963, while she and President Kennedy were away on a trip to Texas. The following day, November 22, a red carpet was installed, just as the Kennedys were making their way through Dallas, where the president was assassinated.[20] Johnson had the red carpet removed and the Truman carpet reinstalled, and used the latter for his administration. Since Johnson, most administrations have created their own oval carpet, working with an interior designer and the Curator of the White House.


Caroline Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy beneath the Resolute desk in 1963. Note the Truman carpet.

Six desks have been used in the Oval Office by U.S. presidents since its construction in 1909.[21] The desk usually sits in front of the south wall of the Oval Office, which is composed of three large windows.[22] Some presidents only use the desk in this room for ceremonial purposes, such as photo opportunities and press announcements, while others use it as their main workspace.[23]

The first desk used in the Oval Office was the Theodore Roosevelt desk, and the desk currently in use by Joe Biden is the Resolute desk. Of the six desks used in the Oval Office, the Resolute desk has spent the longest time there, having been used by eight presidents in the room. The Resolute has been used by all U.S. presidents since 1977 with the exception of George H. W. Bush, who used the C&O desk for his one term, making it the shortest-serving desk to date. Other past presidents have used the Hoover desk, the Johnson desk, and the Wilson desk.[21]

The Resolute desk, the current desk in use, is built from oak timbers that were once part of the ship HMS Resolute.[24] the British Resolute was trapped in artic ice in 1854 and abandoned.[25] The ship was discovered in 1855 by an American whaling ship and later underwent a complete refit, repaint, and restock paid for by the United States Government. It was returned to England in 1856 and decommissioned in 1879.[25] The same year the British Admiralty launched a competition to design a piece of furniture made from the timbers of the Resolute which Queen Victoria could gift to the American president.[26][27] Following a design competition, Queen Victoria ordered that three desks be made from the timbers of Resolute. The one that is now known as the Resolute desk was designed by Morant, Boyd, & Blanford, built by William Evenden at Chatham Dockyard, and announced as "recently manufactured" on November 18, 1880.[25][28][29] The desk was delivered as a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880.[30] President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested that a panel be installed in the rear kneehole during his presidency.[24] The desk was used in various areas of the White House until Jacqueline Kennedy had it moved to the Oval Office in 1961.[24][31] Following the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, the Resolute desk was transferred, on loan, to the Smithsonian Institution and went on tour around the country to help raise funds for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.[24][32] After this tour, the desk was put on view at the Smithsonian Institution beginning in 1966.[24][32] Jimmy Carter returned the Resolute desk to the Oval Office in 1977.[24]


Artworks are selected from the White House collection or may be borrowed from museums or individuals for the length of an administration.

Most presidents have hung a portrait of George Washington – usually the Rembrandt Peale "Porthole" portrait or the Charles Willson Peale three-quarter-length portrait – over the mantel at the north end of the room. A portrait of Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully hung in Lyndon B. Johnson's office and in Ronald Reagan's, George H. W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's. A portrait of Abraham Lincoln by George Henry Story hung in George W. Bush's office, continued in Barack Obama's and currently hangs in Joe Biden's. Three landscapes/cityscapes – City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke, Eastport and Passamaquoddy Bay by Victor de Grailly, and The President's House, a copy after William Henry Bartlett – have adorned the walls in multiple administrations. Passing the Outpost (1881) by Alfred Wordsworth Thompson, a Revolutionary War genre scene of a carriage stopped at a British checkpoint, hung in Gerald Ford's office, and in Jimmy Carter's and Ronald Reagan's.[33] The Avenue in the Rain by Childe Hassam and Working on the Statue of Liberty by Norman Rockwell flanked the Resolute desk in Bill Clinton's office and did the same in Barack Obama's. Avenue in the Rain currently hangs beside the Resolute desk in Joe Biden's office.

Statuettes, busts, heads, and figurines are frequently displayed in the Oval Office. Abraham Lincoln has been the most common subject, in works by sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Gutzon Borglum, Adolph Alexander Weinman, Leo Cherne and others. Over time, traditional busts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Benjamin Franklin have given way to heads of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman or Dwight Eisenhower. Western bronzes by Frederic Remington have been frequent choices: Lyndon Johnson displayed The Bronco Buster, as did Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush added its companion piece, The Rattlesnake.


President Truman receiving a marble bust of Simon Bolivar from a Venezuelan delegation, December 27, 1946

According to The New York Times, an estimated 43 paintings and one photograph have decorated the walls of the Oval Office since 1961.[34]

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to occupy the Modern Oval Office, and placed Rembrandt Peale's George Washington over the mantel. Assorted prints of the Hudson Valley hung on the walls.

President Harry S. Truman displayed works related to his home state of Missouri, prints of biplanes and sailing ships, and models of jet-airplanes. A series of paintings held pride of place over the mantel, including Rembrandt Peale's George Washington, Charles H. Woodbury's Woodrow Wilson,[35] Luis Cadena's George Washington (the gift of Ecuador),[36] and a copy of Tito Salas's Equestrian Portrait of Simon Bolivar (the gift of Venezuela).[37] A large photograph of the White House portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, under whom Truman had served as vice president and who died in office in 1945, hung beside the mantel and later beside his desk. He also displayed the painting Fired On by Western artist Frederic Remington.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower filled the office walls with landscape paintings, as well as a portrait of Robert E. Lee.[38]

President Barack Obama with Oval Office artwork, September 28, 2012

President John F. Kennedy surrounded himself with paintings of naval battles from the War of 1812, photographs of sailboats, and ship models.

President Lyndon Johnson installed sconces on either side of the mantel, and added the office's first painting by a woman artist, Franklin D. Roosevelt by Elizabeth Shoumatoff.

President Richard Nixon tried three different portraits of George Washington over the mantel, and hung a copy of Earthrise – a photograph of the Earth taken from the Moon's orbit during the Apollo 8 mission – besides his desk.

President Gerald Ford hung historic paintings, possibly in anticipation of the 1976 Bicentennial. Most of these works remained in place through the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.[34]

President George H. W. Bush hung landscape paintings on the walls, along with three portraits: Rembrandt Peale's George Washington, Charles Willson Peale's Benjamin Henry Latrobe, and Thomas Sully's Andrew Jackson.

President Bill Clinton chose the Childe Hassam and Norman Rockwell paintings mentioned above, along with Waiting for the Hour by William T. Carlton,[39] a genre scene depicting African-Americans gathered in anticipation of the Emancipation Proclamation going into effect on January 1, 1863.

President George W. Bush mixed traditional works with paintings by Texas artists and Western sculptures. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, British Prime Minister Tony Blair lent him a bust of Winston Churchill, who had guided the United Kingdom through World War II.

President Barack Obama honored Abraham Lincoln with the portrait by Story, a bust by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Below the proclamation was a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. by Charles Alston,[40] and in the nearby bookcase was displayed a program from the August 28, 1963, March on Washington, at which King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.

President Donald Trump hung mostly portraits on the office walls: Rembrandt Peale's George Washington, George H. Story's Abraham Lincoln, Asher B. Durand's Andrew Jackson, George P. A. Healy's Thomas Jefferson, John Trumbull's Alexander Hamilton, Joseph-Siffred Duplessis's Benjamin Franklin.[34] He later substituted in other portraits: Rembrandt Peale's Thomas Jefferson and Ralph E. W. Earl's Andrew Jackson.[34]

President Joe Biden's Oval Office features a cluster of five portraits at its north end, with Frank O. Salisbury's Franklin D. Roosevelt given pride of place over the mantel.[34]


A tradition evolved in the latter part of the twentieth century of each new administration redecorating the office to the president's liking. A new administration usually selects an oval carpet, new drapery, the paintings on the walls, and some furniture. Most incoming presidents continue using the rug of their predecessor until their new one is installed. The retired carpet very often is then moved to storage.

The redecoration of the Oval Office is usually coordinated by the first lady's office in the East Wing, working with an interior designer and the White House curator.


The Oval Office floor has been replaced several times, most recently during the administration of George W. Bush. The 2005 installation, based on the original 1933 design by Eric Gugler, features a contrasting cross pattern of quarter sawn oak and walnut.

Since the present Oval Office's construction in 1934 during the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt the room has remained mostly unchanged architecturally.[citation needed] More than any president, Roosevelt left an impression on the room and its use. Doors and window frames have been modified slightly.[citation needed] A screen door on the east wall was removed after the installation of air conditioning. President Lyndon B. Johnson's row of wire service Teletype machines on the southeast wall required cutting plaster and flooring to accommodate wiring.[citation needed] The Georgian style plaster ornament has been cleaned to remove accumulated paint, and a series of electrified wall sconces have come and gone.[citation needed]

Though some presidents have chosen to do day-to-day work in a smaller study just west of the Oval Office, most use the actual Oval Office for work and meetings. Traffic from the large numbers of staff, visitors, and pets over time takes its toll. There have been four sets of flooring in the Oval Office. The original floor was made of cork installed over softwood; however, President Eisenhower was an avid golfer and damaged the floor with his golf spikes. Johnson had the floor replaced in the mid-1960s with wood-grain linoleum. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan had the floor replaced with quarter sawn oak and walnut, in a cross parquet pattern similar in design to a 1933 Eric Gugler sketch, which had never been executed. In August 2005, the floor was replaced again under President George W. Bush, in exactly the same pattern as the Reagan floor.


In the late 1980s, a comprehensive assessment of the entire house, including the Oval Office, was made as part of the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).[41] Detailed photographs and measured drawings were made documenting the interior and exterior and showing even slight imperfections. A checklist of materials and methods was generated for future conservation and restoration.


Dimensions US SI
Major axis (north-south) 35 ft 10 in 10.9 m
Minor axis (east-west) 29 ft 8.8 m
Eccentricity 0.59 0.59
Height 18 ft 6 in 5.6 m
Line of rise (the point at which the ceiling starts to arch) 16 ft 7 in 5.0 m
Approximate circumference 102 ft 5 in 31.2 m
Approximate area 816.2 sq ft 75.8 sq m

The ratio of the major axis to the minor axis is approximately 21:17 or 1.24.

Taft Oval Office, 1909–1933[edit]

President Image Designer Furnishings Paintings/Sculptures/
Personal effects
William Howard Taft
TaftOval1909.jpg Nathan C. Wyeth, 1909 Marble Neoclassical mantel
Bookcases with glass doors
Lighting fixtures by E. F. Caldwell & Co.[42]
Walls covered in green burlap

Theodore Roosevelt desk
Green drapery
Green rug
2 leather "Davenport" sofas
Leather armchairs
Side chairs covered in leather
Theodore Roosevelt's Desk.jpg
Theodore Roosevelt Executive Office, c.1905.

President Taft moved the Theodore Roosevelt desk and furniture to the Oval Office.
Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson at his desk in the Oval Office c.1913 cropped.jpg President Wilson rarely used the Oval Office, preferring to work in the Treaty Room.[43]
Warren G. Harding
Mr. Harding's desk in the Executive Offices LOC3c32075v.jpg President Harding died in office on August 2, 1923. This photo, taken on the day of his funeral, shows mourning crepes tied to the desk chair and blotter.
Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge seated at desk in Oval Office LOC3b39484r.jpg President Coolidge's first official photograph, taken August 15, 1923.
Herbert Hoover
1st Oval Office after Dec. 24, 1929 fire.jpg Before fire:
Theodore Roosevelt desk

After fire:
Hoover desk[44]
Art Moderne-style sconces
6 cane-back armchairs
Upholstered furniture
Following the December 24, 1929 fire, President Hoover and his staff relocated to the adjacent State, War, and Navy Building. He restored the West Wing as it had been, but installed air-conditioning. He replaced the Taft Oval Office's Colonial-Revival lighting fixtures with Art Moderne ones, replaced its leather sofas and chairs with upholstered furniture, and added the 6 cane-back armchairs that are still used in the modern Oval Office.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt at desk in Oval Office, 1933.jpg Hoover desk Note the Art Moderne sconces between the windows of the restored Oval Office, in this 1933 photo.

President Roosevelt moved the marble mantel, 2 of the sconces, the rug, drapery, desk, and furniture to the modern Oval Office.

Modern Oval Office, 1934–present[edit]

President Image Designer Furnishings Paintings
Personal effects/Misc.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT IN EXECUTIVE OFFICE.jpg Eric Gugler, 1934 Marble mantel (from prior Oval Office)
2 sconces (from prior Oval Office)

Hoover desk
Green drapery
Green rug
Arched-back desk chair
Arched-back armchairs (against the wall)
"Lawson" sofa (against the wall)
6 cane-back armchairs
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale

Prints of the Hudson Valley

Ship models
Oval Office replica at Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
FDR Oval Office.tif
Harry S. Truman
Photograph of President Truman's desk and other furnishings in the Oval Office of the White House. - NARA - 199460.jpg Theodore Roosevelt desk
Gray drapery
Blue-gray rug with the Presidential Seal
Television set
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
George Washington by Luis Cadena (gift of Ecuador)[45]
Simón Bolívar by Tito Salas (gift of Venezuela)[46]
José de San Martín, copy after Jean Baptiste Madou (gift of Argentina)
USS Constitution by Gordon Grant
Missouri State Seal plaque
Fired On by Frederic Remington

Equestrian Statue of Andrew Jackson by Charles Keck

Photograph of Portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Frank O. Salisbury

Prints of biplanes and sailing ships

Jet-airplane models
Harry Truman Pres Lib oval office.jpg
Oval Office replica at Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.

Andrew Jackson statue County Courthouse KC Missouri.jpg
In 1933, as presiding judge of Jackson County, Missouri, Truman commissioned sculptor Charles Keck to create a larger-than-life equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson for the under-construction Kansas City Courthouse. The new courthouse was dedicated on December 27, 1934, and Truman's 10-year-old daughter Margaret unveiled the statue. Keck presented a model of the equestrian statue to Truman, which he later displayed in his Oval Office.[47]
Dwight D. Eisenhower
EisenhowerAtomicEnergyAct.jpg Theodore Roosevelt desk
Truman drapery
Truman rug
Landscape paintings

Seated Lincoln by Gutzon Borglum
Seated Lincoln by Gutzon Borglum.
John F. Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy Kerry Kennedy Resolute Desk b.jpg Stéphane Boudin, 1963 Resolute desk
Truman drapery
Truman rug
Rocking chair
2 white sofas (not against the wall)
Round coffee table, with phone attached
Replaced Art Moderne sconces with brass lanterns

See notes.
USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian by Thomas Birch[48]
The White House Long Ago by Jacqueline Kennedy [49]
Constitution - Guerriere by Michele Felice Corne[50]
Bonhomme Richard by Thomas Buttersworth[50]
Buffalo Bull by George Catlin[50]
Buffalo Hunt Under Wolf Skin Masks by George Catlin[50]

Photographs of sailboats

Ship models
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy restored the Resolute desk.
Redecorated Oval Office with President Kennedy's effects.jpg

The Oval Office was undergoing redecoration at the time of Kennedy's assassination. Lyndon B. Johnson retained the new white drapery, but chose not to use the new red rug.[51]
Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ watching TV in the Oval Office.jpg Johnson desk[52]
Truman rug
Kennedy white drapery
Cabinet for Teletype
Banquette with three televisions
Kennedy rocking chair
Kennedy white sofas
Round coffee table, with phone in drawer
Federal-style tall-case clock
Replaced Kennedy brass lanterns with Neoclassical brass sconces
Covered floor with wood-grained linoleum
George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully
Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart
Franklin D. Roosevelt by Elizabeth Shoumatoff[53]

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Bust of Lyndon B. Johnson (1966) by Jimilu Mason[54]
Oval Office Meeting 5 June 1967.jpg
Franklin D. Roosevelt by Elizabeth Shoumatoff (on mantel).
Richard Nixon
Photograph of President Richard M. Nixon and Representative Gerald R. Ford in the Oval Office Prior to the Nomination... - NARA - 186969.tif
Richard Nixon with Prince Charles.jpg
Wilson desk
Yellow drapery
Royal blue rug
1st. George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
2nd. George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
3rd. George Washington by Charles Willson Peale
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett

Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Leo Cherne
Bird figurines by Edward Marshall Boehm

Earthrise (photograph of the Earth from the Moon's orbit)
Nixon Presidential Library & Museum (30608035520) (cropped1).jpg
Oval Office replica at Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
First Lady Pat Nixon designed the Oval Office's royal blue rug.
Gerald Ford
Ford Oval Office.jpg Wilson desk
Red drapery
Yellow floral rug
2 yellow Queen Anne-style armchairs
2 yellow wing chairs
2 striped sofas
Seymour tall-case clock

Removed the brass sconces
George Washington by Charles Willson Peale
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett
Eastport and Passamaquoddy Bay by Victor de Grailly
City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke
Benjamin Franklin by Charles Willson Peale
Passing the Outpost by Alfred Wadsworth Thompson[34]

Standing Lincoln by Adolph Alexander Weinman
The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Seymour Clock in the Oval Office.jpg
President Ford first placed the Seymour tall-case clock in the Oval Office.[55]
Jimmy Carter
The Oval Office - NARA - 177693.tif 1977 Resolute desk
Ford drapery
Ford rug

Placed the Ford sofas back-to-back
George Washington by Charles Willson Peale.
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett
Eastport and Passamaquoddy Bay by Victor de Grailly
The City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke
Passing the Outpost by Alfred Wadsworth Thompson[34]

Bust of Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon
Bust of George Washington by Hiram Powers
Bust of Thomas Jefferson by Jean-Antoine Houdon
The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Bust of Harry S. Truman by Charles Keck

Ship model
Jimmy Carter Library and Museum 68.JPG
Oval Office replica at Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.
Ronald Reagan
Empty Oval Office in The White House.jpg
President Ronald Reagan working at his desk in the Oval Office.jpg
Ted Graber, 1981[56]
Ted Graber, 1988
Resolute desk
Ford drapery
Ford rug (First Term)
Replaced the wood floor[57]
"Sunbeam" rug (Second Term)
George Washington by Charles Willson Peale
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett
Eastport and Passamaquoddy Bay by Victor de Grailly
The City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke
Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully
Preaching to the Troops by Sanford R. Gifford[58]
Passing the Outpost by Alfred Wadsworth Thompson[34]

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Rattlesnake by Frederic Remington
The Great Saddles of the West by Paul Rossi
Ol' Sabertooth by Harry Jackson

Cowboy's Meditation by Harry Jackson
Buffalo Skull by James L. Clark

Numerous family photographs

Oval Office replica at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
First Lady Nancy Reagan designed the rug.[59]
George H. W. Bush
President Bush meets with Secretary Dick Cheney, General Colin Powell, General Scowcroft, Governor Sununu and Robert... - NARA - 186427.tif Mark Hampton C&O desk
Pale blue drapery
Pale blue rug
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett
Rutland Falls, Vermont by Frederic Edwin Church
The Three Tetons by Thomas Moran
Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully
Benjamin Henry Latrobe by Charles Willson Peale

Model of HMS Resolute

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Rattlesnake by Frederic Remington
Numerous family pictures

Bush Library Oval Office Replica.jpg
Oval Office replica at George Bush Presidential Library.
Bill Clinton
President Clinton and CIA Director John Deutch - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency.jpg
Kaki Hockersmith, 1993 Resolute desk
Yellow drapery
Navy blue rug

Striped red and white sofas

George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
The Avenue in the Rain by Childe Hassam
The City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke
Waiting for the Hour by William Tolman Carlton
Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully
The Three Tetons by Thomas Moran
The President's House, copy after William Henry Bartlett

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
The Thinker by Auguste Rodin
Appeal to the Great Spirit by Cyrus Dallin
Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Robert Berks
Bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt by Jo Davidson

Numerous family pictures

Clinton exhibit Presidential Library Little Rock AR 2013-06-07 023.jpg
Oval Office replica at William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
George W. Bush
President George W. Bush meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Oval Office.jpg
Ken Blasingame, 2001 Resolute desk
Gold drapery
"Sunbeam" rug

Replaced the wood floor
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale.
A Charge to Keep by W. H. D. Koerner[60]
Rio Grande by Tom Lea[61]
Near San Antonio by Julian Onderdonk[62]
Chili Queens at the Alamo by Julian Onderdonk[63]
Cactus Flower by Julian Onderdonk[64]
Abraham Lincoln by George Henry Story

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Rattlesnake by Frederic Remington
Bust of Dwight D. Eisenhower by Nison Tregor
Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Bust of Winston Churchill by Jacob Epstein (lent by British Prime Minister Tony Blair from the British Government Art Collection)

Numerous family pictures
Barack Obama in the Oval Office replica in the George W. Bush Presidential Center.jpg

Oval Office replica at George W. Bush Presidential Center. First Lady Laura Bush designed the "Sunbeam" rug.[65]
Barack Obama
Obama edits speech before announcing death of Osama bin Laden.jpg
President Barack Obama meets with Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the Oval Office, Feb. 2, 2011.jpg
Michael S. Smith, 2010 Resolute desk
G.W. Bush gold drapery (first few months into term)
Red drapery
Taupe rug with quotes in border
Striped wallpaper
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
The Avenue in the Rain by Childe Hassam
Working on the Statue of Liberty by Norman Rockwell
The Three Tetons by Thomas Moran
Abraham Lincoln by George Henry Story
Cobb's Barns, South Truro by Edward Hopper
Burly Cobb's House, South Truro by Edward Hopper

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Charles Alston

Copy of the Emancipation Proclamation
Numerous family pictures
Barack Obama on the telephone to John Boehner.jpg
The rug's border incorporates quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Donald Trump
View of Oval Office in 2017.jpg
President Trump and the First Lady Welcome the President of the Republic of Poland and Mrs. Agata Kornhauser-Duda (43860910935).jpg
2017 Resolute desk
Clinton drapery[66][67]
Reagan sunburst rug[68]
White & gray brocade wallpaper
G.W. Bush cream-colored sofas[69]
Additional American and presidential flags[70]
Andrew Jackson by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl[71]
Abraham Lincoln by George Henry Story[71]
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale[71]
Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart
Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull

The Bronco Buster by Frederic Remington
Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens[71]
Bust of Winston Churchill by Jacob Epstein[72]
Bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Charles Alston[73]
Equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson by Clark Mills

Letter from President Nixon[72]
Numerous family pictures
Collection of Challenge coins[74]
Wounded Warrior Project Award
Mini World Cup replica trophy
Trump International Golf Club Championship trophy
President Trump initially used the Obama striped wallpaper, but replaced it with white and gray brocade wallpaper during renovations made in August 2017.
The World Cup miniature trophy was a gift from FIFA, presented after the U.S. was announced as host country for the 2026 World Cup.
Joe Biden
Joe Biden petting Champ and Major in Oval Office, 9 February 2021.jpgPresident Joe Biden meets with Democratic Senators.jpg 2021 Resolute desk[67]
Clinton drapery[67]
Clinton navy blue rug[67]
Trump wallpaper[75]
G.W. Bush cream-colored sofas[75]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Frank O. Salisbury[67][76]
Thomas Jefferson by Gilbert Stuart
Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull
Abraham Lincoln by George Henry Story
George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis
The Avenue in the Rain by Childe Hassam[77]
The City of Washington from Beyond the Navy Yard by George Cooke

Swift Messenger by Allan Houser[78][67]
Bust of Martin Luther King Jr. by Charles Alston[67]
Bust of Robert F. Kennedy
by Robert Berks[67]
Bust of Eleanor Roosevelt[67]
Bust of Cesar Chavez by Paul Suarez [67][79]
Bust of Rosa Parks by Artis Lane[67][80]
Bust of Abraham Lincoln by Augustus Saint-Gaudens[81]
Bust of Harry S.Truman by William J. Williams[81][82]

A Moon rock returned by the crew of Apollo 17[83]
Numerous family pictures

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Herbers, John. "The 37th President Is First to Quit Post". The New York Times. No. 9 August 1974. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Address to the Nation on the Explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger". reaganlibrary.gov. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller. "The Rhetoric of 9/11: President George W. Bush – Address to the Nation on 9-11-01". Americanrhetoric.com. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Why is the Oval Office oval? from White House Historical Association.
  5. ^ "Recollections of Judge John B. Wallace," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 2 (1878), p. 175.
  6. ^ David McCullough, John Adams (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), p. 490.
  7. ^ A Window with Its Place in History. Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2007.
  8. ^ "Photos of the archaeology".
  9. ^ "There can be little doubt that in Washington's bow can be found the seed that was later to flower in the oval shape of the Blue Room." William Seale, The President's House, A History (Washington, D. C., 1986), 8.
  10. ^ William Seale, "James Hoban: Builder of the White House," in White House History no. 22 (Spring 2008), pp. 8–12.
  11. ^ Architect Daniel Burnham recommended that it be erected on the opposite side of Pennsylvania Avenue in Lafayette Park, to assure that it would remain a temporary building. Seale, The President's House, p. 664.
  12. ^ The greenhouses were disassembled and relocated.
  13. ^ William Allman, White House Curator, "Oval Office Tour, December 1, 2008," C-SPAN documentary, 14:45.
  14. ^ Seale, The President's House, p. 895.
  15. ^ "The White House: Inside America's Most Famous Home" – CSPAN Documentary
  16. ^ Seale, The President's House, pp. 946–49.
  17. ^ Seale, The President's House, p. 948.
  18. ^ William Allman, White House Curator, "Oval Office Tour, December 1, 2008," CSPAN documentary, 00:45.[1]
  19. ^ "Treasures of the White House: Seymour Tall Case Clock". WHHA. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  20. ^ Brandus, Paul (September 2015). Under This Roof The White House and the Presidency—21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories. Globe Pequot Press / Lyons Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-4930-0834-6.
  21. ^ a b Andriotis, Mary Elizabeth (January 19, 2021). "Joe Biden Chooses the Resolute Desk for His Oval Office". Yahoo! News. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  22. ^ Fallows, James (August 27, 2017). "Readers on What Trump's Office Decor Reveals About His Leadership". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  23. ^ Hess, Stephen (January 8, 2009). "What Now? The Oval Office". Brookings Institution.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "Treasures of the White House: "Resolute" desk"". White House Historical Association. Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  25. ^ a b c "From the Arctic to the Oval Office — the story of HMS Resolute" Archived January 25, 2021, at the Wayback Machine. Christie's. Retrieved December 23, 2020
  26. ^ "International Amenities: Design for a Bookcase and Chimneypiece" Archived July 22, 2021, at the Wayback Machine. The Builder. April 16, 1881. p. 472. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  27. ^ "Design proposal for a secretaire from the timbers of Resolute (1850)" Archived April 28, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. Royal Museums Greenwich. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  28. ^ Parliamentary Papers. H.M. Stationery Office. Vol. 40. House of Commons of the United Kingdom. 1882. p. 130.
  29. ^ "Resolute desk" Archived August 26, 2021, at the Wayback Machine. White House Historical Association. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  30. ^ "The Presidency: Decorative Arts and Design in the White House". C-SPAN. May 3, 2018. Archived from the original on August 26, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2020. Program ID 444985-5. 32:10 - 38:50
  31. ^ Kettler, Sara (April 23, 2019). "How Jacqueline Kennedy Transformed the White House and Left a Lasting Legacy". Biography. Archived from the original on January 14, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "Historic Desk Loaned to President Carter" Archived August 26, 2021, at the Wayback Machine. Smithsonian Institution. 1977. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  33. ^ John Rousmaniere, The Union League Club 1863-2013 (New York: Union League Club, 2013), pp. 198-200.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h Buchanan, Larry; Stevens, Matt (May 5, 2021). "The Art in the Oval Office Tells a Story. Here's How to See It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  35. ^ President Woodrow Wilson from The Greatest of Art.
  36. ^ Portrait of George Washington from Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
  37. ^ Portrait of Simon Bolivar from Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
  38. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight (August 9, 1960), Letter to Leon W. Scott, retrieved December 5, 2017
  39. ^ Waiting for the Hour from Virginia Memory.
  40. ^ "Clinton announces first image of a Black is on display at the White House". Jet. March 14, 2000. Archived from the original on March 23, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  41. ^ Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. DC-37, "White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC", 599 photos, 3 color transparencies, 41 measured drawings, 8 data pages, 35 photo caption pages
  42. ^ Monkman, p. 198.
  43. ^ Seale, The President's House, p. 812.
  44. ^ After the fire, the president used "the great mahogany desk presented to Hoover by furniture makers in Grand Rapids." Seale, The President's House, p. 918.
  45. ^ George Washington by Luis Cadena[permanent dead link] from White House Historical Association.
  46. ^ Simón Bolívar by Tito Salas Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine from Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.
  47. ^ Brian Burnes, Harry S. Truman: His Life and Times (Kansas City, MO: Kansas City Star Books, 2003), p. 101.
  48. ^ USS United States vs. HMS Macedonian (1813)[permanent dead link] from Sotheby's Auction, May 22, 2008.
  49. ^ "The White House Long Ago, MO 63.2145 | JFK Library".
  50. ^ a b c d "Items in President Kennedy's Oval Office | JFK Library".
  51. ^ Kennedy Oval Office from White House Museum. Scroll to bottom for photo.
  52. ^ President Johnson used the same desk he had used as a U.S. Senator and Vice-President.
  53. ^ FDR by Elizabeth Shoumatoff Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine from White House Historical Association.
  54. ^ Bust of Lyndon B. Johnson from U.S. Senate Vice-Presidential Bust Collection.
  55. ^ Seymour tall-case clock Archived May 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine from White House Historical Association.
  56. ^ "Oval Office has new face for Reagan," from Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, September 5, 1981.
  57. ^ Oval Office Flooring Archived April 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine from HuffPostLive.
  58. ^ egraybill (April 21, 2021). "The Artwork of President Reagan's Oval Office". The Reagan Library Education Blog. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  59. ^ "Easy come, easy go," from Chicago Tribune.
  60. ^ A Charge to Keep from Wikimedia Commons. Lent by the Bush Family.
  61. ^ "Mrs. Bush's Remarks for 100th Anniversary of the West Wing Symposium". – White House Historical Association. – November 13, 2002. – | Light from the Sky: A Tom Lea Retrospective, 1907–2001 Archived September 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. – Mid-America Arts Alliance. – (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document). – Retrieved: July 5, 2008 Lent by the El Paso Museum.
  62. ^ Lent by the San Antonio Museum of Art."Julian Onderdonk" from Questroyal Fine Art, LLC.
  63. ^ Lent by the Witte Museum.
  64. ^ Lent by the Witte Museum.
  65. ^ "Bush weaves Rug story into many an occasion," from The Washington Post, March 7, 2006.
  66. ^ Manetti, Michelle (January 23, 2017). "Here's How President Trump Has Already Redecorated the Oval Office". House Beautiful. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  67. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Linskey, Annie (January 20, 2021). "A look inside Biden's Oval Office". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  68. ^ Campbell, Janie (January 20, 2017). "Of Course Trump Already Installed Gold Curtains In The Oval Office". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  69. ^ Ross, Martha (August 24, 2017). "Trump or Obama: Who decorated the Oval Office better?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  70. ^ Cain, Aine, "Trump insisted on hanging bright gold drapes in the Oval Office — here are past presidents' offices for comparison" Business Insider (Feb. 15, 2018) https://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-oval-office-white-house-design-2018-1
  71. ^ a b c d Hannity, Sean (January 26, 2017). "President Trump gives 'Hannity' a tour of the Oval Office". Fox News. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  72. ^ a b Karni, Annie. "Trump plans personal touch for Oval Office wall". POLITICO. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  73. ^ Valverde, Miriam (January 22, 2017). "In context: Churchill, MLK busts in Oval Office". PolitiFact. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  74. ^ "President Trump signs tax bill - CNN".
  75. ^ a b Elizabeth, Mary; riotis (January 21, 2021). "See the First Photos of President Joe Biden's Oval Office". House Beautiful. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  76. ^ "Franklin D. Roosevelt". WHHA (en-US). Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  77. ^ Maegan Vazquez (January 21, 2021). "Inside Joe Biden's newly decorated Oval Office". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  78. ^ "Figural group | National Museum of the American Indian". americanindian.si.edu. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  79. ^ "'That's Cesar Chavez!': Bust of civil rights icon behind President Joe Biden stirs excitement". NBC News. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
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  82. ^ "Harry Truman Statue & Bust". Truman State University. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  83. ^ Dunbar, Brian (January 21, 2021). "NASA Lends Moon Rock for Oval Office Display". nasa.gov. NASA. Retrieved January 22, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Portions of this article are based on public domain text from the White House.
  • The White House: An Historic Guide. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 2001. ISBN 0-912308-79-6.
  • Abbott James A., and Elaine M. Rice. Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration. Van Nostrand Reinhold: 1998. ISBN 0-442-02532-7.
  • Clinton, Hillary Rodham. An Invitation to the White House: At Home with History. Simon & Schuster: 2000. ISBN 0-684-85799-5.
  • Monkman, Betty C. The White House: The Historic Furnishing & First Families. Abbeville Press: 2000. ISBN 0-7892-0624-2.
  • Ryan, William and Desmond Guinness. The White House: An Architectural History. McGraw Hill Book Company: 1980. ISBN 0-07-054352-6.
  • Seale, William. The President's House. White House Historical Association and the National Geographic Society: 1986. ISBN 0-912308-28-1.
  • Seale, William, The White House: The History of an American Idea. White House Historical Association: 1992, 2001. ISBN 0-912308-85-0.
  • West, J.B. with Mary Lynn Kotz. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan: 1973. ISBN 0-698-10546-X.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′51″N 77°02′15″W / 38.8974°N 77.0374°W / 38.8974; -77.0374