Return Jackie's Treasures to the White House

By Steven Louis Brawley

August 18, 2017: When the famous Jackie auction was held in 1996, there was hope that many Kennedy-related items would return to the White House. Well, that didn't happen. The White House Historical Association's coffers were not rich enough to afford the items. WHHA walked away with a simple, yet historic, sketch of a James Buchanan Blue Room reception. The sought after auction catalogue gave specific provenance to many of the items that were part of the Kennedy state and private quarters.

Where are these antiques now? Would the current owners ever consider donating the items to the White House? It would be great to have these treasures back at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There was some good news, her pair of Jefferson owned Louis XVI Fauteuils did make their way to Monticello. The commode gifted to the Kennedy's by DeGaulle is in the JFK Library's collection.

Jackie knew her furniture and artifacts would bring big bucks. So, I don't harshly criticize her for not donating some items upon her death. I wish she had bequeathed some items. She created a legacy that ensured the White House was a museum with a curator. Was she mad? Maybe we should blame Clement Conger for erasing her Parish, Boudin, and DuPont decor.

Here is an inventory of Sotheby's auction items that I wish were back at the White House.  If anyone knows where these items are today, please let me know.

Yellow Oval Room/Treaty Room Table:

Louis XV mahogany table was among the furnishings in the Yellow Oval Room of the Kennedy White House.Was also used in the Treaty Room during a signing ceremony for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Jackie used in her 1040 library. Sotheby's winning bid: $1.43 million. (Sold to a European museum that was not been identified).


President's Dining Room Chandelier: 

Empire Chandelier used in the second floor President's Dining Room created by Jackie in the Kennedy White House. Sotheby's winning bid: $37,375.

Red Room Obelisks:

A pair of gold-mounted, multi-colored marble obelisks. Graced mantle of dining room at 1040. These obelisks were among the furnishings of the Red Room of the Kennedy White House Sotheby's winning bid: $85,000. 

Oval Office Pier Table:

Classical ormolu-mounted and carved mahogany marble-top pier table, New York, circa 1815. This pier table was among the furnishings in the Oval Office of the Kennedy White House. Sotheby's winning bid: $48,875.

Elevator Hall Card Table:

Charles Honore Lannuier, New York, circa 1815, swivel top mahogany card table. Used in the second floor elevator hall in the Kennedy White House. Sotheby's winning bid: $107,000. Either gifted or on loan to the Kennedy Library. Currently on display.

Images courtesy Kennedy Library and Sotheby's.


Copyright Steven L. Brawley, 2002-2015. All Rights Reserved.