Featured Object

In each issue, the bimonthly DAR magazine, American Spirit, highlights an object from the DAR Museum collection in its "National Treasures" feature. These objects, often recent accessions or important pieces in the current exhibit, always have a story to tell about American history.

National Treasures

Stately Seats

President James Monroe ordered this pair of mahogany armchairs for the East Room of the White House in 1818. The order was placed with Georgetown cabinetmaker William King Jr., and the set originally consisted of 24 chairs and four sofas. The chairs cost $33 each, and the purchase of the set was financed by the “furniture fund” that had been appropriated by Congress in 1817 to refurnish the White House after the British burned it down three years earlier.

Originally supported upon brass casters, the chairs were not upholstered. They were described in the 1825 inventory of furniture in the President’s house as “unfinished.” The chairs were made usable in 1829, when the East Room was decorated by Louis Veron & Co. of Philadelphia. According to an invoice, the set was “stuffed and covered, mahogany work entirely refinished, and cotton covers [supplied].” At that time they were upholstered in “blue damask satin,” and the reference to “cotton covers” suggests that the set was provided with slipcovers used to protect against sunlight and dirt during the summer months.

In 1873, the set was sold at auction when Boston decorator William J. MacPherson redecorated the East Room under President Ulysses S. Grant. The DAR Museum purchased the chairs from an antique store in 1961.

American Spirit, Volume 141, No. 1, January/February 2007, Page 11
Photo by Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver

More National Treasures

Sitting Pretty

To the Rescue

Strange Brew

Tayloe Family Ties

Ornamental Trio

Reviving the Stone

A Record to Remember

Strong Set

Fashion Flashback

Let's Go Ride a Bike


Isn't It Romantic

A Rockin' Good Toy

The Mystery of Mother and Child

Keep Cool

Dress for the Ages

Historical Register

Banjo Time

Getting Warmer

Virginia Map Quest

Serve It Up

Greatest Toy on Earth

Dress for the Day

Boston Uncommon

A Teapot to Revere

Seats of Honor

Birthday Threads


Play On

Top Drawer

Burning Bright

Seated in Revolution

Something to Crow About

Sister Stitch

Tea Time

Capturing Cherubs

A Link to the Past

Brushes with Fame

Something Borrowed

Supper Is Served

Heirloom High Chest

Making Beautiful Music

Forged From Fire

For Madame's Trousseau

Let It Out

Heavenly Harmonies

Priceless Pooch

DAR Coffee Table Book

Click here for information on how to order

For details and how to purchase
American Treasure: The Enduring Spirit
of the DAR
click here

Look Inside DAR

Click here to view slideshow

View Building
Photo Gallery