President's Dining Room

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Second Floor location of Dining Room

The President's Dining Room is located in the northwest corner of the second floor of the White House. It was created in 1961 during the administration of John F. Kennedy to provide a dining room in the First Family's residence. The room had previously been used as a bedroom and sitting room. It is located directly above the Family Dining Room on the State Floor and looks out upon the North Lawn. The Dining Room is adjacent to a small kitchen, and serviceable by a dumbwaiter connecting it to the main kitchen on the ground floor.

From 1929 to 1948, this room was known as the Lincoln Bedroom, before that it was known as the Prince of Wales Room.[1]


The Dining Room as decorated by Henry Du Pont and Sister Parish during the Kennedy administration
The Dining Room as decorated by Kaki Hockersmith during the Clinton administration

When first created, the room was decorated with painted walls and Louis XVI furniture belonging to the Kennedys. Henry Du Pont and Sister Parish recommended the room be furnished in American Federal style antiques. Beginning with the Kennedys, a collection of antiques have been acquired for the room including a Sheraton pedestal table that was made in Massachusetts between 1810 and 1815, a set of shield-back side chairs made circa 1890, and a carved wood mantel made in Philadelphia circa 1815. The room is used for small dinners and luncheons, and because of the limited size of these events some of the older White House china existing in small numbers can be used. Portions of the older state china services are displayed in the china cabinet in the President's Dining Room and in the China Room. Elaborate curtains, of two shades of blue and based on Federal-era models, were designed by Stephane Boudin, under the direction of Jacqueline Kennedy. During the Kennedy restoration a plaster mantel produced circa 1815 in Philadelphia by Robert Wedford was installed on the east wall.

The south wall of the room is apsial where the primary door, entering from the Center Hall, is located. The apsial wall in the President's Dining Room, and a near identical one across the hall in the president's bedroom were built during the Truman reconstruction. Though not original to James Hoban's original plan, they take inspiration from studies Thomas Jefferson had made by Benjamin Henry Latrobe for altering several rooms in the White House. When the room was created as the President's Dining Room in 1961 the walls were covered in an early nineteenth century woodblock-printed scenic wallpaper, manufactured in France by Zuber et Cie, depicting views of North America. It is similar to the wallpaper installed in the Diplomatic Reception Room but instead of early citizens, European tourists, and Native Americans, it depicts imagined battles of the American Revolution.

During the Ford administration, First Lady Betty Ford had the wallpaper removed and the walls painted a soft yellow. Rosalynn Carter had the scenic wallpaper reinstalled. In 1996, during the Clinton administration, the room was redecorated. The woodblock wallpaper was carefully covered with fabric covered wooden baffles and the walls were then hung with a chartreuse Italian watered silk moiré fabric. During the second term of George W. Bush, the walls were recovered in an off white color of silk lampas selected by interior decorator Ken Blasingame.

Prince of Wales Room[edit]

Before the room was a Dining Room, it was a bedroom suite. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales stayed in the suite during his 1860 visit, and for years afterwards the room was known as the Prince of Wales Room.[2] From 1929 to 1948, the room contained Lincoln's bed, Lincoln family photographs, and was known as the Lincoln Bedroom.[1]

Other uses[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Family Residence Dining Room". The White House Museum. 
  2. ^ a b "Prince of Wales Room". Mr. Lincoln's White House. The Lincoln Institute. 1999–2011. 
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