The Lincoln Bedroom is perhaps one of the most famous rooms in the White House. It's part of a guest suite in the southeast corner of the second floor, and while it's technically part of the family quarters, it is as well-known as many of the State Rooms.
|The Lincoln Bedroom in 1962, during the Kennedy Administration. Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. Public Domain.|
Lincoln slept in another bed in another room, which has since been converted to the Private Dining Room and Family Kitchen.
|President Lincoln. Public Domain|
During Lincoln's presidency, the walls were covered in dark green and gold wallpaper, and a green carpet covered the floor. Books and papers piled on the tables, and maps to help plan military strategy for the Civil War were tacked on the walls alongside paintings. Two large wicker baskets held debris, often to overfloweing. Here, Lincoln met with military leaders as well as every day folks.
Lincoln also issued the Emancipation Proclamation in this room September 22, 1862 (it went into effect January 1, 1863). An engraving of the 1864 painting, "First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation," now hangs in the room (the original is in the Capitol Building).
|"First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation" by Francis B. Carpenter, 1864. Public Domain|
While Lincoln may not have slept in the bed now in the room, it's believed his young son Willie, aged 11, died in the bed in 1862. Later, other presidential couples chose the bed for their master suites, including Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt and Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. The Coolidges also used the bed.
in the 1950's, President Harry S. Truman and his wife Bess decided to place the large bed and marble-topped table in the former presidential office. The chamber has been known as the Lincoln Bedroom since then.
|The Lincoln Bedroom, 1985-1995. Public Domain.|
Perhaps the most breathtaking item in the room, however, is a copy of the Gettysburg Address, handwritten and signed by Lincoln.
|President Obama with Peng Liyuan, Xi Jinping in the Lincoln Bedroom, viewing the Gettysburg Address, 2015. Public Domain. Note the diamond-patterned wallpaper and the restoration of purple drapery over the bed in the background--much like Mary Todd Lincoln had it.|
|Actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who won an Oscar for portraying Abraham Lincoln, views the Gettysburg Address during a 2012 visit to the White House. Public Domain|
Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's a Selah Award-winning author. A pastor's wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.