Engravings of the White House, Published 1886

Compiled by Sarah E. Mitchell

The following illustrations come from Ben: Perley Poore, Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis: Illustrating the Wit, Humor, Genius, Eccentricities, Jealousies, Ambitions and Intrigues of the Brilliant Statesmen, Ladies, Officers, Diplomats, Lobbyists and other noted Celebrities of the World that gather at the Centre of the Nation; describing imposing Inauguration Ceremonies, Gala Day Festivities, Army Reviews, &c., &c., &c., Vol. 1, Hubbard Brothers, Publishers, Philadelphia, PA, 1886.

Except for the illustration of the exterior of the White House, Mr. Poore did not elaborate on the timeframe that the illustrations depict. I would estimate that the illustrations of the White House interior come from sometime between 1850 and 1880, based on the ladies' mode of dress and the furniture and general interior style depicted.

The White House in 1904

The South Front of the White House in 1825.

Ben. Perley Poore did date the above engraving.

The White House in 1904

The Blue Room in the White House.

A very similar ottoman to the one above, described as for the center of a room, in the Louis Quatorze style (Louis XIV), was illustrated in Alexander Jackson Downings's The Architecture of Country Houses: Including Designs for Cottages, and Farm-Houses and Villas, With Remarks on Interiors, Furniture, and the best Modes of Warming and Ventilating, D. Appleton & Company, 1850; reprinted as Andrew Jackson Downing, The Architecture of Country Houses, Dover Publications, 1969. According to Washington City and Capital, Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, American Guide Series, Washington, D. C., 1937, French furniture was in vogue at the White House from the Monroe administration (1817) until the beginning of the Civil War (1860).

The White House in 1904

The Dining Room in the White House.

The Dining Room arrangements have varied as to how many could be seated. It appears that this may have been a time when many people could be served.

The White House in 1904

The East Room in the White House.

The East Room appears vastly different today; large crystal chandeliers now hange from the ceiling, the floors are not covered in carpet, and the wallpaper is no more.

The White House in 1904

The Green Room in the White House.

When this engraving was done, Victorian wallpapers adorned the walls. The ceiling is decorated as well.

Digital Editing and Text by Sarah E. Mitchell, unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2003 Sarah E. Mitchell